Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feb. 24 - good night to get out and look.

February 24 is a good night to get out and to some observing. Two interesting and kind of rare events are happening. First of all, we know that Comet Lulin will be at it's closest to Earth at .41 AU (or about 38 million miles) and it should be at it's brightest of about magnitude 5 or so. If the sky is dark enough, no telescope should be needed to see Lulin.
Wait! There more....swing your scope over to the right and look at the yellowish 'star' (shouldn't be twinkling since it's a planet) and zoom in on Saturn. Since the ring plane of the planet is lined up with Earth right now the rings look very thin, and also make the planet dimmer since we lose a lot of reflective stuff bouncing light off the rings. 2:54am PST Titan will work it's way across Saturn's face followed by it's shadow about 40 minutes later. Then about 2 hours later 4 more of the moons will appear and scoot across Saturn making for a 4 moon "eclipse".
Please let me know how this all looks. I don't expect to see anything since this is Seattle and we NEVER get to see anything cool in the sky like this.

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