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 Post subject: Asteroid (433) Eros
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:12 am 
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Location: Maple Shade, NJ
For those who missed the near-earth asteroid 2005 YU55 back in November 2012, we have another one this month, (433) Eros, which will pass about 16 million miles from earth on January 31st (compared to about one lunar distance for YU55). As a result, Eros will be moving at a much more leisurely pace, approximately 1 degree/day, but that’s fast enough for movement to be evident over a relatively brief interval. In addition, Eros is much larger, so it will be distinctly brighter despite the greater distance, around magnitude 9 vs. 11 to 12 for YU55.

In the February 2012 issue of Astronomy magazine (page 48), there’s an article about spotting Eros this January and February, indicating it’s the best opportunity to do so in 37 years. Finder charts are provided, but they start on January 15th (I prefer my own SkyTools charts anyway). At the moment, Eros is near Leo’s back, roughly midway between Algeiba and Zosma, and heading south from there.

Since it was reasonably clear last night (January 7/8, 2012), and quite balmy for this time of the year, I decided to take a look from my suburban yard. Initially, I tried my 16x70 binoculars, but could not see to 9th magnitude with them handheld (and with a near full moon in the sky), so I got out my 80 mm refractor on a photo tripod. Using 30x, I was able to find Eros without difficulty at 11:45 pm when it at 38 degrees altitude. To confirm, I looked again 2 hours later and it had moved noticeably from its earlier position.

Eros was the target for the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft, which landed there on February 12, 2001.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEAR_Shoemaker

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 Post subject: Re: Asteroid (433) Eros
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:49 am
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Hi Joe:

The February issue of S&T also has finder charts. I'll try to catch a glimpse of Eros tomorrow evening if possible. My eastern horizon is obstructed so it will be a late night.

Is anyone bringing a scope to the next meeting? At 7:32 PM Io's shadow will begin its transit across the disk of Jupiter and at 9:35 PM the GRS will be on Jupiter's central meridian.

Vic Palmieri


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 Post subject: Re: Asteroid (433) Eros
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:53 pm
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Location: Maple Shade, NJ
VJP wrote:
...The February issue of S&T also has finder charts...

Vic,

Thanks for the heads-up on the S+T charts (which I like better than the Astronomy charts). I should have looked more closely at my February 2012 S+T (pg 52) before I posted!

I was out again last night (Sunday, Jan 8th) at 11:45 pm with my 80 mm refractor and found Eros right away despite a fuller moon being closer to it and some wispy clouds moving in. Indeed, it had moved considerably from its position on Saturday night, just as the S+T charts indicated.

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