Except for the cold, the forecast out of Sterling this morning could not be better for those of us hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet Lulin as it makes its closest approach to Earth - a "mere" 38 million miles. Lulin should be visible high in the southern sky around 1 a.m., but you may be able to spot it earlier - say, after 11 p.m., if you look a little lower in the southeast.
Observers in recent days have said Lulin has brightened to a magnitude of 5.35. That's just a shade brighter than 6, which is considered to be the limit of naked-eye visibility. By contrast, Venus, high in the western sky after sunset, is a brilliant minus-4 at the moment. (The lower the number, the brighter the object.)
I would not count on being able to see the comet as a naked-eye object from urban or suburban locations tonight without binoculars, at least. A small telescope is even better. But if you can flee the urban corridor, you should be able to pick out the comet as a fuzzy blob or light alongside the planet Saturn. With binoculars or a telescope, you should be able to capture both comet and Saturn within the same field of view. A rare treat!