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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:28 am
Posts: 28
I just wanted to add Geoff and I would have never found this dim, fast moving object on our own. I printed out Joe's overall chart he posted yesterday but, left it home on the desk, so we pulled it up on Geoff's phone. As you can see we were off to a bad start, this was about 6:15. Then Joe arrived and saved the night. Armed with much more detailed custom charts generated by Sky Tools3, and a vast knowledge of the night sky we now had a chance to witness this once in a lifetime event. Joe shared the overlapping charts with us in hopes we to could find the Asteroid in Geoff's 12" Dob, but this never happened. This is where years of star hopping experience (something Geoff or I do not have) made the difference.

The seeing and transparency were perfect (Jupiter was amazing lots of detail), the temperature was mild and there was no dew.

The Moon was bright, you could almost read the charts without a light, and the shadows we were casting it looked like stadium lights were on above us. This left it hard to see the brighter constellation stars never mind the dimmer ones needed to get our starting points, but Joe had an answer for that to. He knew where a dimmer constellation should be in the sky and then found it with binoculars, problem solved.

Continued in part two


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:28 am
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The next hurdle was the first time Joe found it, it vanished. We determined it was tumbling and dimming to a point it was no longer visible and then would reaper if still in the field of view (don't forget this object is moving opposite to the normal rotation we are used to) and the background sky was not dark because of the almost full moon. This is why we couldn't follow the asteroid for long once you found it, and if it entered a part of the sky void of any stars in the fov you then lost the sense of motion and became very hard to follow, did I mention this was a Fast Moving Object. So it was back to the charts, orient yourself to the sky, pick the next time it will pass a star formation shown on the chart(3 stars in a row,4 in a square, triangle etc.)then reverse that image in your head and try to find that pattern of stars in a 40mm low power ep, then pick a spot you feel the asteroid will cross, swap the ep to a 10mm 160x (because it was not visible in the 40mm ep) and watch the time, wait, and hope its bright enough to see, and yes share the view 3 ways and did I mention the Air National Guards presence along with C-130s dropping sandbags and lights setup out on the runway (I never saw them set up lights out there) just another minor distraction.

Thanks again Joe for an unforgettable night, and a great astronomy lesson. I would like to think we helped a little by, asking questions, holding the light, double checking the star groupings in the 40mm ep, staying out of the way until you found it for the first time (after that you made it look easy) and bearing witness to your findings.

Ed


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:53 pm
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Location: Maple Shade, NJ
It was indeed a great night at Coyle and it was great to have you and Geoff as company. And don't forget that we also able to see comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) in spite of the bright moon.

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Joe Stieber
http://sjastro.org/
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