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Asteroids 4 Vesta & 1 Ceres at Opposition from Sun

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#1 Centaur

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

For its current apparition, on 2012 DEC 09 asteroid 4 Vesta makes its closest approach to Earth at 1.5885 AU and greatest brilliance of magnitude +6.4. Coincidentally, asteroid 1 Ceres is expected to achieve greatest brilliance of magnitude +6.7 on DEC 18 and closest approach of 1.6844 AU on DEC 20. Normally Vesta is significantly brighter than Ceres, but Vesta is currently near its aphelion and Ceres near perihelion.

For my related asteroid charts and magnitude graphs, visit my asteroid webpage at: www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids

#2 Rick Woods

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:55 PM

Well, I guess I'm going to have to look up Ceres, what with it being a planet now and all.
I did videotape Vesta a few years back when it was so bright.

#3 drbyyz

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:22 AM

So this is a newbie question as I've never tried observing an asteroid before. Do they just look like a star in your scope? Or can you actually pump up the magnification on any of them and start to make out a shape? I'd assume they would be too small for that but some are also pretty close so I'm not sure.

#4 Centaur

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

So this is a newbie question as I've never tried observing an asteroid before. Do they just look like a star in your scope? Or can you actually pump up the magnification on any of them and start to make out a shape? I'd assume they would be too small for that but some are also pretty close so I'm not sure.


In your telescope they'll appear as point sized objects like stars. Asteroid means star-like. Aster: star. Oid: similar in appearance but not genuine. The name asteroid was coined in the nineteenth century by an astronomer who realized they were little planets, but noticed that in a telescope they showed no planetary disk and had the appearance of stars.

#5 drbyyz

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:27 PM

Thanks, I figured in my scope there would be no resolving any kind of shape out of them, I was more wondering for larger scopes.

#6 Rick Woods

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:00 AM

There was one guy, though, that imaged Vesta a few years back with a Meade 14" SCT and got some albedo features. Some claimed it was a processing effect, but maybe not...
Impressive, anyway.

#7 Centaur

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope has photographed Ceres and Vesta: http://hubblesite.or...bum/pr2007027a/






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