Comet Lulin graced North American skies in the winter of 2009. Fortunately, the closest approach was during the Winter Star Party in February. Comet Lulin proved to be much more interesting than I had previously been inclined to believe. The comet brightened dramatically over the week of February 24 and sported a beautiful ion blue tail. I slewed to the comet with the scope and began my initial exposures and was surprised by the views on the LCD screen. The blue ion tail was crumpled and extending away from the comet nucleus in a beautiful fashion. So this object became the main target object during the 2-4 a.m. imaging window on most nights.
This video is a time-lapse sequence of 9 3.5 minute exposures taken on February 21, 2009 from the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys. Each image was optimized in Adobe Light Room and the video was compiled with Windows Movie Maker. The video loops several times so that the viewer can pick up the subtle changes in the blue ion tail. Geostationary satellites are common in this area of sky and pass through the field as through they were moving airplanes, but in fact it is the telescope and camera moving to compensate for the Earth's rotation.