Sunday 17 February 2013

2013-02-15: 2012 DA4 Observation from ESAC

Last Friday, 7 of us with few guests met at ESAC to observe the closest approach of the asteroid 2012 DA4. Although the clouds, together with the light polution, endangered the observation at the beginning of the night, during the event the weather was good enough to observe and image the asteroid. Finally we mounted the Wouter 12 inch Dobsonian and the Michel 8 inch Newtonian.  In order to record the event, instead of the telescope of the club, we mounted the ESAC Photo club 400 mm TeleLens (thanks!!!) together with a Canon 60Da DSLR in a CG5 Celstron mount for the sideral tracking. After use this TeleLens, I cannot assess the general conclusion stated in the last post. So, at least this one allows a field flattening good enough for astronomy. The following video is a time lapse movie of the party in the top of U building.

Thanks to Wouter Van Reeven, we were able to see the asteroid from the beginning of the night. We must recognize that without his observational ability with his 12 inch Dobsonian the success of the observation was seriously compromised. Really it was complicated to observe the event.  He showed us how to use SkySafari in a iPad to guide the observation and he also provided the sky maps with the track that allowed to record the asteroid pass in the area of Ursa Major. The following video shows the track in this area when the asteroid was moving away from the Earth..

In order to better appreciate the track, it is recommended to see the video in youtube at the maximum resolution (HD1080). The following sky map was produced by Wouter to show the apparent track as seen from ESAC. The purple square indicates the area shown in the video.