Mr. Piniat–Point Your Eyes To The Sky

4.6 billion years ago our solar system was formed. Over the next couple of days, if you look up in the sky you will be able to see a comet that is making its first pass through the inner planets of our solar system. This comet is called Lulin and it is a ball of rock and ice that is hurling through space. As the comet travels close to our Sun, it releases its surface layer of ice and minerals. This is what gives comets their classic “tail” that follows them through their travels. After studying this comet, NASA has said that it is releasing enough water from its surface to be able to fill an entire olympic size swimming pool ever 15 minutes!

Comet Lulin will be making it’s closest visit to the Earth on February 24th, 2009. Even though this will be when the comet is the closest to our planet, it will still be approximately 38 million miles away from our surface. The comet will look like a dim and fuzzy star with a slight greenish color to it if you look into the sky without a telescope. The best time to look for this unique sight will be around midnight over the next couple of nights. The comet is currently traveling away from our sun and will no longer be able to be seen by the middle of March.

If you would like to get a chance to see this comet, look for the classic “W” that is formed from a combination of stars in the constellation Hydra. The central point in the “w” of this constellation will point nearby the comet. You will then have to look slightly to the left of this location. The comet will be sitting right next to Saturn in the night’s sky. Our solar system is full of many amazing sights to be seen. Whenever we get a chance to see a visiting comet like the one above us right now, make sure to point your eyes to the sky and enjoy the show!

Discussion Questions:

If you get a chance to see Comet Lulin, what were some of your observations?

What are some other amazing things you have seen in our sky?



~ by jpiniat on February 22, 2009.

17 Responses to “Mr. Piniat–Point Your Eyes To The Sky”

  1. Wow I never knew that comets give of water and enough to fill an olympic pool too. I can not wait to see a real comet tonight and I hope I am able to take a picture. The one thing that I can say is I am going to be up until midnight.

  2. I really like that website. Usually when I study, I study with my dad off a study guide. I get really really bored. With it made studying fun because of the games and fake quizzes. This time I also I studied with my dad but it made studying fun. Also, it challenged BOTH me AND my dad’s mind. Next, time we have a test can we have an online test on also?

  3. While reading this article I know I am going to look for Lulin, the comet. I can’t wait to see if the comet will in fact be the color of how you described it. As I read this I wondered if it came around a lot. In other words, I was wondering how many years until it came around again. I found it interesting to read about this comet- I’m just hoping that I will get the chance to see it.

  4. Also, I really want to see Comet Lulin. If I see it I’ll make sure to leave another reply explaining what it was like.

  5. This seems like a very interesting comet. I have always wanted to see one . It’s very odd that this comet will be so far yet we will be able to see it. I wonder if there are an more undiscovered comets out there . I also wonder if this comet will hit anywhere and the effect it will have on that planet. I look forward to seeing it tonight and maybe again in later life.

  6. This is story was very interesting because something like this hasn’t happened in a while. Tonight I am going to see if I can find Lulin. One of the the things that stood out to me was Lulin can fill an Olympic sized swimming pool every 15 minutes. It’s amazing that a ball on ice in space contains so much water. For the last Discussion Question something amazing I have seen in the sky was an eclipse, one comet, and some of the constellations like the big and little dipper. Tonight I hope I will be able to see Lulin.

  7. I liked your blog!!!!! I will answer question number 2. In the fall in the sky you could see 2 shining things. They were 2 of the 8 planets. That observation happens about every 30 years and for once we got to see it. I thought it was very cool and exciting and I hope that I can see it again in 30 years.

  8. Your title was very catchy. Love outer space. I also have a friend who loves the outer space.i will make sure to tell him. great job

  9. Excellent Mr. Piniat! I’m glad that astronomy articles are getting popular. In answer to your second question, around late December and early January there was something in the sky. It was comet McNaught. Many said it was things such as Venus, a meteor, or the North Star. Many were confused about this unknown object under the moon and I’m happy that this time I’ll know what it is. I’ll be sure to look out for comet Lulin.

  10. I liked your blog!!!!! I will answer question number 2. Some of the amazing things you see in the sky are 2 of the 8 planets. They are very shiny, and the observation happens every 30 years. Your article was very interesting, and extremly exciting!!! I can’t wait to see it again in 30 years.

  11. i also think that your title is catchy. you had great facts. good job.

  12. I think it is really cool how you can see a rare comet or a star and then it might be gone the next night. I also think that is really cool how Lulin might be green and it will be very easy to see compared to all the other comets and star.Plus, i cant beleive after NASA studied Lulin they said the amount of water it is releasing can fill a Olympic swimming pool in 15 minutes is pretty cool!

  13. This article was very interesting. I liked it and the title caught me instantly. I agree with Rachel and Andrew on how it’s amazing that Comet Lulin could fill one olympic size pool in only 15 minutes. It’s incredible that one comet has that much water with it. I guess I’ll answer question no. 2.

    One of the things I saw in the sky was a really bright light. It might have been a star but if it was it was extremely close. It flew by around late December mid-January. After reading Joe’s comment I identified that this was comet Mcnaught. Astronomy is one of the more interesting science topics and I’m glad you wrote about it Mr. Piniat!

  14. I like astronomy because my dad is an amateur astronomer and we look at the night sky together. One time we saw a neteor shower called the Orionoids.

    Marcus Valdez

  15. I would really like to see comet lulin. I can’t believe it is 38 million miles from earth. This is relly cool.

  16. Way to go Mr.Piniat. You had a great topic and described it well. It would be soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool to see comet lulin. Awesoe Job again Mr.Piniat

  17. WOW!!! I can’t believe that this is going to happen. I am very excited to see it. Your article was very very interesting. GREAT JOB MR. PINIAT!!!

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