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back to article Comet Lulin poses for NASA's Swift

Comet Lulin will over the next couple of nights be visible to the naked eye as it approaches to within 38m miles of Earth, although sky gazers shouldn't expect to see more than a "fuzzball". NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Explorer satellite has been keeping an eye on the object, discovered in 2007 by Ye Quanzhi and Lin Chi-Sheng from …

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Happy

Clockwise?

Interesting comment that Lulin rotates clockwise. Surely that depends on your viewpoint; Viewed from south of Earth's orbital plane it would be anti-clockwise and other planetary objects clockwise.

The least ambiguous way to describe it would be to say its orbit is retrograde in respect to Earth.

Sorry to be a pedant!

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Alien

May I welcome

our new fuzzy overlords - may your reign be swift and fleeting

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Thumb Up

So sorry your cometness!

Of course, as a long-period comet from the Oort cloud, you may have any orbital inclination you like and therefore go around the Sun any direction you wish.

Our deepest apologies, oh great green fuzzy masters!

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Silver badge

Clockwise?

That should be a retrograde orbit.

The majority of comets on trajectories similar to Lulin follow retrograde orbits, and the most famous of all comets, Halley, is also retrograde, so they aren't at all uncommon.

I just want to know if Bruce Willis has been put on standby, or if we can all sleep safely in our beds?

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X ray spex ?

And of course it won't be pink and purple unless you're viewing it in X-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap090221.html

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Counterclockwise

Rotational motion in the solar system is normally viewed from the perspective of the Sun's north pole. So most objects (including the Sun itself) rotate counterclockwise.

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Silver badge

Popular units of time

Olympic swimming pools and Bulgarian airbags are everyday objects that anyone can get a feel for, but what are these minutes you talk about? Surely the comet ejects enough water to fill a swimming pool in 5 CD tracks. This is equivalent to 7 swimming pools per DVD.

BTW: I think you will find the easy way to find the comet is to look behind the cloud.

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