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ASTRO: 2001 SN263 Triple Amor Asteroid passing by

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Old February 15th 08, 09:24 PM posted to alt.binaries.pictures.astro
Rick Johnson[_3_]
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Posts: 262
Default ASTRO: 2001 SN263 Triple Amor Asteroid passing by

On Tuesday Arecibo's radio telescope discovered this asteroid, which is
making a close pass by earth, is really triple. Obviously that can't be
seen visually but it isn't often that a tiny near earth asteroid is
bright enough and well positioned for most all the inhabited parts of
the earth as this one is. It is in Gemini headed for Hydra's head over
the next 11 days or so. It is moving about 8" of arc per minute. This
will stay pretty constant over the next couple of weeks. It was 6.5
million miles away when I imaged it at magnitude 12.5. In a week it
will be magnitude 12 and about 6 million miles away, its closest for
this encounter.

You can construct an ephemeris for your viewing times at:

The orbital elements for computer scopes is available there as well. i
found it dead on accurate. Being in the Milky Way of Gemini I figured
it hard to find, I'd have to expose several minutes and look for the
trail but there was this nice 12 mag star dead center and yep, that was
it. Nice when things work like they are supposed to.

I used 15 exposures of 30 seconds with a wait of 60 seconds between each
to generate a dotted trail. Star field is 30 such exposures. They were
combined with Sigma Reject so the asteroid was rejected leaving only the
non moving objects. That was processed for the stars. I then combined
15 of these using averaging. It was processed for the asteroid while
the stars and galaxies looked awful because of this and were much
fainter. I then used two layers in photoshop combining using the
lighten mode. This has the effect of grabbing the asteroid from one and
the star field from the other and combining them effortlessly on my
part. A neat trick the photoshop expert I know taught me.

Due to clouds there was a 20 minute period I couldn't image so rather
than put a large break in the trail I just used the last 15 for the
asteroid. The moon was in Taurus and the asteroid in Gemini so I had
horrid gradients with part of the corrector plate moonlit. I'm still
rather poor with such strong gradients. Left side in direct moonlight
had a background count of 21000 while the right side had one of 540.
That's a gradient!

It started snowing only an hour after I took this. So never had a
chance for color data. Scale is 1.5" of arc per pixel.

14" LX200R @ f/10, 15x30 asteroid, 30x30 background all binned 3x3,
STL-11000XM, Paramount ME


Correct domain name is arvig and it is net not com. Prefix is correct.
Third character is a zero rather than a capital "Oh".

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Old February 15th 08, 09:50 PM posted to alt.binaries.pictures.astro
John N. Gretchen III
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Posts: 460
Default ASTRO: 2001 SN263 Triple Amor Asteroid passing by

Nice work Rick!

Rick Johnson wrote:
On Tuesday Arecibo's radio telescope discovered this asteroid, which is
making a close pass by earth, is really triple.

John N. Gretchen III

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