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Thread: Asteroid mania cont'd

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    Default Asteroid mania cont'd



    Tonight I sketched first positions for two more asteroids near opposition.

    17 Thetis was mag 10.9 in Leo, a short hop from θ Leo thru 73. Could just see with 39x, but also used 75x to draw in some fainter stars nearby.

    7 Iris was mag 9.0 in Sextans, took a long hop down from Regulus to find her. She peaked earlier this month at mag 8.9 at a distance from Earth of 1.57 AU. The orbit is rather eccentric; at some oppositions like that of Oct 2017, she will get as bright as mag 6.9 at a distance from Earth of only 0.85 AU.

    Iris and I go way back. She was the first asteroid I ever observed on 7 Oct 1969 with my 60mm refractor. Magnitude then was 7.1; there was a finder chart in Sky & Telescope. I did make a basic sketch, but unfortunately didn't follow up with another one showing the movement, so I can't use that observation for the Asteroid Program. I plan to make it up to her this time
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Yay! Ray, I didn't know you and Iris had such a long history.

    Nice work Ray.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Yay! Ray, I didn't know you and Iris had such a long history.
    Or maybe that history was all in my head...

    This is the sketch I made Oct 7, 1969 with 60mm refractor. I just turned Stellarium back to that date. While Iris appears in the field, the object I have marked as Iris is the exact position for star HIP 3371, mag 6.55.

    Such fun to critique myself 46 years later
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymondhow View Post
    Or maybe that history was all in my head...

    This is the sketch I made Oct 7, 1969 with 60mm refractor. I just turned Stellarium back to that date. While Iris appears in the field, the object I have marked as Iris is the exact position for star HIP 3371, mag 6.55.

    Such fun to critique myself 46 years later
    Hahaha! Oh my!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Nice Ray!! I'm lucky if I could find something from last year!! Thanks for sharing that... I think it's awesome!
    Keith

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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    A window in the mucky skies let me catch 17 Thetis and 7 Iris again. The 2nd viewings are always easier: already know where I'm hopping, plus only need to add one more dot to the sketch. If I get another clear window tomorrow, I may go for 3rd positions just for fun.

    Takes me up to 25 asteroids, so I could now get the "regular" Asteroid Program Certificate Took me about three months. Guess I will apply for it, but I want to reach the 100 "gold" level...
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    I concur with your sketches. Says the apprentice to the master.
    Congrats on 25, and best of luck and clear sky wishes for the remainder.

    I think I will need to re-do Thetis hopefully Sunday evening and Monday evening. I parked her rather low in my sketch FOV. Well done Ray!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymondhow View Post
    Or maybe that history was all in my head...

    This is the sketch I made Oct 7, 1969 with 60mm refractor. I just turned Stellarium back to that date. While Iris appears in the field, the object I have marked as Iris is the exact position for star HIP 3371, mag 6.55.

    Such fun to critique myself 46 years later

    Ray, I noticed that your sketch was marked 'Map 9'. Out of curiosity, what number map are you up to now?
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Moyer View Post
    Ray, I noticed that your sketch was marked 'Map 9'. Out of curiosity, what number map are you up to now?
    That was from my teenager notebook, got up to map 47. I don't number them like that anymore
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    Default Re: Asteroid mania cont'd

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    I concur with your sketches. Says the apprentice to the master.
    Congrats on 25, and best of luck and clear sky wishes for the remainder.

    I think I will need to re-do Thetis hopefully Sunday evening and Monday evening. I parked her rather low in my sketch FOV. Well done Ray!
    Thanks Bryan. I had no luck getting a third position for Iris, unrelenting clouds last night. Good luck with the re-do of Thetis.

    So I combined my 25 sketches into a PDF file using the Convert JPG to PDF for free - JPG to PDF online converter website (it works very well). Then sent to John, the Asteroid man at the AL, with this e-mail...

    ===
    Hello John,
    Here is my submission for the "regular" AL Asteroid Club certificate. With one exception, took me three months to reach 25 asteroids. Maybe I'll get to 100 within a year, will see if my enthusiam holds. Attached is a PDF file of sketches.

    First asteroid was 4 Vesta, sketched as a teenager in Bridgeport, Connecticut with 60 mm refractor way back in 1970. (Still have my ancient notebook.) The rest were all observed with my classic Orion XT8 from an urban rooftop in Oakland, California, with high-rise buildings glaring down at me.

    A fun highlight was 2004 BL86, the NEO. I was clouded out the night of closest approach, but was able to catch it the next night as it was fading out.

    Here are some notes on my rather old-fashioned methods...

    I look for targets using the ephemeris site at http://www.minorplanet.info/PHP/call_OppLCDBQuery.php , finding which brighter asteroids are close to opposition. Then I locate the coordinates on Stellarium, and print out a close-up screenshot. Using a ruler, I plot the 0000 UTC positions for a few days. (Lately I have learned how to load asteroids into Stellarium, but that seems like cheating.) I mark the magnitudes of the nearby stars. Then I note the brighter key stars on my Taki mag 8.5 atlas (printout in a binder).

    Up on the roof, I star-hop to key stars using 9x50 RACI (indispensible in my Bortle 8 sky). Switch to 31mm eyepiece (39x), and turn the screenshot upside down. When picking the field to sketch, I allow room for the asteroid to move for a couple of days. The circle of each sketch is the 39x field, about 1.8°. Brighter asteroids I can see with 39x; for fainter ones, I switch to 75x or 120x. I try to sketch stars down to about a magnitude fainter than the asteroid, at least those close by in the field. Back downstairs again, I label the brighter stars, add directionals and any notes.

    Usually the 2nd viewing is the next night. Always easier, since I already know where I'm hopping, and only need to add one more dot to the sketch. Then I might make some effort to judge the sky motion. I like to work on two at a time, sometimes they make for interesting contrasts.

    Maybe that's more details than you wanted to hear, but it's partly for my benefit. Self-indulgence and all that. So let me know what you think. I can mail you photocopies of the actual sketches if you need them.

    Thanks for your time, and for coordinating the program

    Raymond
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