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Jupiter and Satellites by Marc Delcroix

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Marc Delcroix
Time of observation
20/11/2011 - 20:45
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Jupiter and it's Galilean satellites, imaged by Marc Delcroix

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Comet 2009p1 Garradd

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17/11/2011 - 00:16
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ccd image and observation
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Comet 2009p1 Garrradd

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16/11/2011 - 00:30
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Comet 2009p1 Garrradd

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Time of observation
16/11/2011 - 00:30
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C 2010G2 Hill

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14/11/2011 - 20:40
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Sharpless 119 and North American Nebula, by Don Taylor

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Don Taylor
Time of observation
13/11/2011 - 14:45
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This narrowband image of the area around the North American nebula was taken from Huntsville, Texas by Houston astro-photographer Don Taylor. Don used a Takahashi FSQ-106 at f/3.6 and an SBIG STL-11000 CCD camera. Exposure was 100 minutes each of HA (5nm), SII and OIII, with the SII and OIII components binned 2x2.

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UK clouded out for 2005 YU55 – but does not stop Martin Mobberley

UK observers were unable to witness for themselves the close-pass of near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 on the night of 2011 November 8/9 owing to the country being entirely covered by impenetrable cloud as can be seen in the weather satellite images taken at the time.

UK Cloud on November 8-9

‘YU55′ is especially noteworthy in that it is the largest known NEO to have passed so close to the Earth (0.85 lunar-distances away) that has been predicted in advance of the event. Detailed radar images including animations showing the object rotating will be released by NASA during the next few days, news of which can be found at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm

Given the poor weather in the UK, BAA member Martin Mobberley used a remotely-operated 0.5-m telescope at the GRAS facilities in New Mexico to secure a 1-minute exposure of the 11th magnitude object taken some 7 hours after closest approach. The very fast moving object is clearly visible as a bright streak in the centre of Martin’s image taken whilst it was at a distance of about 450,000 km from the Earth, just beyond the orbit of the Moon.

2005 YU55 on 2011 November 9th at 06:38 UT - Martin Mobberley

Richard Miles
Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section

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comet 2009p1 Garradd

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06/11/2011 - 22:06
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IC443 by Gordon Rogers

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Gordon Rogers
Time of observation
06/11/2011 - 10:15
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As Gemini returns to our winter skies, this narrowband image of the "Jellyfish" nebula would seem to be appropriate for November. Image details are Takahashi FSQ 106 and SBIG ST10 camera, guided by a 16" RCOS and using adaptive optics. The image is mapped colour of 120 minutes HA (red), 60 mins S11 (green), and 130 mins HB (blue).

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Observe the close approach of a potentially hazardous asteroid

Next week, there will be a chance to observe the close approach of the potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) 2005 YU55. This 400m size object will pass by the Earth at about 325,000km (about 0.85 of the distance from the Earth to the Moon) on November 8th. However it will be low in the south west at sunset, so observations from the UK will be tricky. Over the following two nights, though, it will be more accessible.

 

Chart for 2005 YU55 (in Pisces) on 2011 November 9/10 - Martin Mobberley

BAA Asteroids Section Director, Dr. Richard Miles explains more…

Seen from the UK on the evening of Tuesday, November 8/9, a 400-metre size asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar-distances of us travelling at a speed of 13.7 km/s relative to the Earth.  This encounter will be the closest known for an asteroid of this size between the years, 1976 and 2028. So in this respect, it is a once in a 52-year opportunity to witness this particular skirmish.

It should first become visible from the UK and Europe on Tuesday evening, low in the west mainly in Aquila, passing 22 degrees south-west of Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1).  It should prove fascinating to follow as it approaches.  Seen from southern England (Dorset), it may be first detectable using a CCD camera and large telescope at about 18:00UT some 23 degrees altitude in the south-west direction at about magnitude 15 moving at 5 “/sec. It will brighten by about a factor of 10 over the next 4 hours so that by 22:00UT it will be 12th magnitude and moving at around 8 “/sec, i.e. crossing the sky at a rate of 1 Moon-diameter every 3.6 minutes.  Even exposures of a few seconds will show the asteroid as a trail and only telescope mounts set up to track moving objects will be able to register it as a point source. It will attain 11th magnitude at closest approach (Nov 8 at 23:28UT) at an altitude of just 6 degrees (as seen from Dorset) and thereafter will set below the western horizon.  With a very high apparent speed (reaching almost 9 “/sec), the object will be visible through large telescopes (25cm or greater) looking like a moving point of light crossing the field of view in a minute or two. Quite an observing challenge!

2005 YU55 will be much better placed for observers and easier to see on the evening of November 9/10 when at about 18:00UT it will be 12th magnitude and moving at <1 “/sec in the east close (12 degrees away) to the nearly full Moon.  Martin Mobberley has kindly generated a finder chart showing the general position of the asteroid for the nights of Nov 9/10, 10/11 and 11/12.  The chart can be found at:
http://martinmobberley.co.uk/images/2005YU55chart_mpm.jpg

If you are planning to observe then you will need to generate an ephemeris for a geographical location within a few hundred kilometres of your observing site.  You may find the Minor Planet Center website convenient to use for this purpose, located at:
http://minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html
Be sure to enter an observatory code in the relevant box: “J95″ would be a good one to use by anyone in southern England. You will have to pick a short ‘ephemeris interval’ say 5 minutes so that you can point your telescope at a convenient spot which the asteroid will reach some minutes after the telescope has been trained on a suitable R..A. and Dec. Enter “2005 YU55″ in the large box and an ephemeris start date using the following format, “2011 11 09 1800″.

The object was last observed in 2010 April when the Arecibo radio telescope was used to generate a radar image of the near-spherical object, and which was shown to be very dark and a slow rotator turning just once every 18 hours or so.  See for example:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch/newsfeatures.cfm?release=2010-144

Although a potentially hazardous object, we do know that this is the closest approach the object will make to the Earth during the next 100 years.

All observations welcome. Good luck with the weather,

Richard Miles
Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section
BAA
arps@britastro.org

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