Is this an observatory or an ice box?

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Pete
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Is this an observatory or an ice box?

Unread post by Pete »

Thursday, Dec 17, 2009 18:15 hrs.

Deep winter has arrived. There’s 10 – 15 mph wind out of the NW and the temperature is in the mid-teens. The moonless sky’s dry and crystal clear. I’m wearing 3 sweatshirts under my -40° rated coverall and heavy socks under my Mickey Mouse boots. Cooling the camera to -35°C doesn’t take all that long, but I’m not actually imaging until around 18:50

Asteroid 2002DP3 is a relatively fast moving 17.0 magnitude minor planet .48AU from Earth and an assumed diameter of 3.3 kilometers. 24 consecutive 2 minute images are taken for subsequent astrometric reduction. This asteroid still carries a provisional designation as some questions remain about it being in stable orbit.

Asteroid 2009VH38 is 18.9 magnitude but it’s apparent motion is only 33â€
Pete P.
Bruce D
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Unread post by Bruce D »

Good effort braving the cold Pete 8)
Bruce D
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Rotorhead
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Unread post by Rotorhead »

Good on ya, Pete! You braved both nights, and they were brutal. As I said in my observing report, the cold was enough to break equipment. I'm really glad that you not only got to observe, but you got some good data to report.
Bob M
15" f5 Starsplitter Dob/80mm Finder
5" Explore Scientific triplet APO on a Vixen Sphinx GEM
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"He numbers all the stars, and calls each one by name." Ps 147:4
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Pete
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Unread post by Pete »

Well, I was out last night from 6 to 11 (when the sky started to haze up). And it was a mild 22°F. Abhimat joined me at 7 and we captured a couple of fast movers - including one that had 3 additional asteroids buzzing thru the image at the same time.

Hope to get to the data reduction tonight.

Pete
Pete P.
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Rotorhead
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Unread post by Rotorhead »

Actual asteroid density (or lack thereof) probably renders a 'three-fer' pretty rare, Pete. Now THAT would be cool to witness!
Bob M
15" f5 Starsplitter Dob/80mm Finder
5" Explore Scientific triplet APO on a Vixen Sphinx GEM
________
"He numbers all the stars, and calls each one by name." Ps 147:4
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Dr. Powell
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MPC

Unread post by Dr. Powell »

First of all Pete, I want to thank you for the great presentation you gave at last month's meeting. Second, congratulations on the logical steps you took in making your observatory and optical system top-grade in every respect so that you can finally make the kind of scientific observations and collect the kind of data you need to make real contributions to the study of asteroids.

Question:

I forgot what MPC stands for.

Mike
Mike
16 X 50 Binoculars
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Pete
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Unread post by Pete »

Hi Mike,

Actually I'm still working on a multitude of issues.

In an attempt to fix some occassional optical reflections I've actually flocked my dome around the shutter with black felt. And then addes a 3' long "dew shield". Next step is to disassemble the focal reducer, flock the barrel, and blacken the lens edges if they're not yet black. So reflections are a project. They don't get in the way of astrometric work but asthetically they bother me.

I've been using AstroArt for astrometry but it was laborious. And then manually entering the data into a spreadsheet for subsequent checks was also laborious. I've been working new software that is highly automated and twice as accurate.

These are just 2 projects out of many. Tere's always room for refinement.

MPC stands for the Harvard Smithsonian Minor Planet Center situated in Cambridge MA.

Happy holidays.

Pete
Pete P.
jim mccullough

Unread post by jim mccullough »

You write: “There are what appear to be crescent shaped reflections in my images. They’re shifting all over the place and sometimes aren’t there at all. I’ve flocked the edges of the shutter and added a dew shield but neither help. There are no bright stars nearby. And covering the camera doesn’t help either. Some mystery.â€
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