Wednesday, February 13, 2013

asteroid path from software

Did plots of asteroid 2012 DA14 in desktop software applications, for the night of Friday, February 15, 2013. The path shows where the asteroid should travel over the course of the evening.

The charts are relevant for locations in south-western Ontario. But your mileage may vary... There will be slightly differences based on your observing spot, given how close the asteroid will be. Parallax!

Don't worry. It's not going to hit the Earth.

First, from Stellarium 0.12.0.

From sunset to sunrise. It will travel from right to left along this path. The "marked" position is at midnight.

SkyTools 3 "current" databases were updated yesterday.

ST3 shows helpful time stamps. Good, because this will be a fast-mover.

In general, there's good correspondence between the two applications.

Greg Crinklaw of Skyhound offered some helpful advice. Lie in wait. Pick an area of the sky ahead of the asteroid, a good amount of time in advance, and then watch closely for something moving into the field...

Remember, as well, this asteroid is very small. And while close, it will still be faint. Early in the evening, it will be around magnitude 12. That means you'll need a 12-inch telescope within city limits or a 4-inch in dark skies. It'll hit mag 13 around 10 PM: 20-inch aperture in city skies; a 6-inch in the country. And so on.

There's a good article entitled "What can I see through my scope?" with some nice tables for your consideration.

A 74-inch telescope in city limits? Pah. No problem!

Imagers may do well in this situation. It is often considered that a camera "adds" 2 magnitudes to an optical system. And with long exposures, one should be able to produce streaks or trails.

What do I know? Not much about asteroids...

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