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Observing 2012 DA14 in N. Americal

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#1 C_Moon

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

How many folks were able to track DA14 down in N. America?

I set up right at sunset on the East Coast and was able to find the asteroid after a little hunting with the help of my custom made chart from Skytools3.

Once I confirmed it I upped the power to 150x. The best views occurred when the asteroid passed a few bright stars. The brighter stars acting as reference points made it easier to detect movement. Since I have a non-tracking scope, I found it quite fortunate that the asteroid was visible so close to the north celestial pole since the background stars moved quite slowly and made it far easier to detect movement.

I thought the brigntess prediction of mag 11 was fairly accurate. I viewed for about an hour beginning at astronomical twilight (~715p EST). It was definitely a direct vision object.

I'd be interested in other observing reports, especially with regard to the estimated visual magnitude. A couple of friends who observed it (much more experienced than I) thought it much fainter than mag 11 (as faint as mag 14).

However, I am certain I saw it based on the movement, comparison with charts, etc, but my based on my experience, I'd put it somewhere in the mag 11-12 range. Of course, as time went on it faded, but the ST3 predictions didn't have it dropping below mag 13 until 1am.
 

#2 drbyyz

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

Great job on tracking it down! Sounds like you definitely got it if you could see movement, it was still moving pretty quickly at that time.

I was unsuccessful with my search for it. I also started about 715PM and worked for a little over an hour searching with no luck. Using SkySafari Plus on my Iphone, their predictions for my time and location just weren't right I guess. I was definitely looking where I needed to be looking and I was getting stars down to 12+ magnitude with direct vision no problem. So if she was there I would I have seen her. I concentrated about half my time looking exactly where SkySafari said it was, and the other half just kind of scanning the general area noticing the position of stars of roughly 11-12 magnitude to see if I noticed movement over the course of a few minutes. Nothing. Perhaps your friend's reports were more accurate and it was fainter than I was looking for.

Oh well, next time I track something like this with such an unpredictable orbit, I'll bring multiple sources for predictions.
 

#3 Cames

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

Me too (East coast). I started looking at dusk. Skytools 3 Pro operating in Real Time mode driving my 4 inch refractor on go-to mount was successful. I had to use the go-to early on because of the branches and boughs of my neigbors' leafless tree that were partially blocking the view. Soon, I was able to catch glimpses but the sky conditions eventually extinguished the asteroid's visibility in the refractor as its brightness diminished. I don't think the refractor can comfortably handle less than magnitude 11.

By about 2000 hrs the asteroid had risen high enough in the tree that I was able to spot it in my dob. I used both a printed SkyTools chart and Real Time view sky-simulation charts right on the laptop. At 180X magnification, its progress was fairly dramatic. The dob really smoked the views that seemed so puny in the refractor. I was able to follow it off-and-on between breaks and phone calls. It was fairly easy to reacquire since circumpolar stars drift comparatively slowly. By about 2200hrs EST, it was just about extinguished by conditions in the dob also. I'd estimate somewhere near magnitude 13.

When I compared its predicted position to what I actually saw, I'd say that they were very, very close. If anything, the asteroid seemed to be about a minute or so ahead of what was displayed on the laptop screen. I understand that its orbit underwent a very significant perturbation at its closest approach earlier in the day. I am amazed at how accurate the predicted path turned out to be.

I was captivated by the Russian meteor event earlier in the day; and I was aware of orbital perturbation predictions and advancing cloud cover on the Clear Sky Chart. As it turned out, no worries; everything fell right into place.

This 2012 DA14 event was a virtual sprint compared to the passage of minor planet Toutatis a couple of months ago. It also displayed detectable motion in high power views. I used the same technique to track Toutatis. And, again, found SkyTools to be dead on accurate. I've really come to appreciate the power of SkyTools and the dedication and skill of its author, Greg Crinklaw - with it backing me up I feel confident in tackling just about anything.
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#4 Steve OK

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

I tried from 7:00 to 8:00 PM CDT from here in OKC. I was using the chart from Heavens Above, supposedly updated late yesterday. I was using setting circles to point my C11 at one of the predicted spots/times, then waited to see if I could catch it moving through the field. I never saw it. Just after 8:00, the clouds rolled in. Then it snowed.
 

#5 IVM

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

This I believe was the first asteroid I observed visually. The weather was very unpromising all day, with overcast and some snow. Nonetheless I printed the RA, Dec, and Vmag from the Jet Propulsion Lab prediction system as advised by the Sky and Telescope website. I thought predictions with 10-minute intervals would do.

At dark it was still cloudy with just tiny breaks. We had a fabulous dinner and generally enjoyed our evening for a while, and then I remembered to check the sky. It was now clear with only some clouds on the horizon. I thought my 7" LX200GPS Maksutov was the scope for the job, but I hadn't used it in a very long time and setting it up took some time.

Finally at around UT 02:40 I punched the predicted coordinates into the hand control and started to watch the field of the 24mm Panoptic (approximately 125x and 1/2-deg wide). I don't observe from home in the white zone except occasionally the Moon and bright planets, so it is not surprising that the first try was a bust. I watched for any movement of the starlike objects in the field that I thought were about the right magnitude until I realized the asteroid would have been out of the field already because I had spent half an hour watching it.

Then I acquired a new field with the predicted coordinates for UT 03:10, and almost immediately saw the asteroid. It looked, of course, much fainter on the atrocious bright gray background of the city sky than I expected based on the magnitude and my dark-site experience. In fact, I could not hold it quite continuously, although it was close enough to continuous observation. It was more of an averted-vision object but not difficult. Turbulence soon subsided and in retrospect I should have then changed to the 13mm Ethos for a darker background with essentially the same field.

Here is the scan of the piece of paper I had with me, with the predictions printed from the JPL system upside-down and three sketches of the Panoptic fields. Each field was acquired by go-toing to the predicted coordinates for the time. On the first sketch the time labels are 03:10 and 03:20, on the right sketch 03:40 and 03:50, and on the bottom one 03:50, 04:05, and 04:12, all UT. This was when I was beginning to lose the asteroid visually. Looking up I saw that this had nothing to do with its actually fading but with some haze that rolled in in the north.

The asteroid could actually be seen moving continuously in real time, and positively "whizzing" past the close stars - although of course objectively and in the everyday terms the movement was quite slow.

Attached Files


 

#6 Nick Rose

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

I Started around 7pm PST here in San Mateo,CA and viewed/ imaged it until around 9pm PST. Here is a picture it is a single 50sec sub Binned 2x2. I took a few 100 sub sets so I will try and do a animation of one of the sets.
Posted Image
Asteroid 2012 DA14 by Nick R2006, on Flickr
 

#7 Tom Laskowski

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

I tried from 7:00 to 8:00 PM CDT from here in OKC. I was using the chart from Heavens Above, supposedly updated late yesterday. I was using setting circles to point my C11 at one of the predicted spots/times, then waited to see if I could catch it moving through the field. I never saw it. Just after 8:00, the clouds rolled in. Then it snowed.


Pretty much my situation here in N. Indiana. Got set up during a brief clearing then only had about 10 minutes to hunt for it. Didn't see it. Then it clouded over and started snowing about 10 minutes later.
 

#8 Nick Rose

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

Here is the animation I made from 100 images each are 10sec binned 1x1.

http://youtu.be/_kQivMIggwg
 

#9 Peter Natscher

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

I was observing and tracking DA14 for about 30 minutes from my driveway at home here on the Pacific coast between 7-8pm PST as it moved N-NE through Ursa Minor. I was using my AP 175EDF with a 6mm Delos at 230X. My Mac's Starry Night app was right on with providing me with its exact location and path. DA14 was only 30° elevation above the N horizon but the sky transparency and seeing were very good allowing me to spot the mag 12.6 asteroid against nearby mag 11-14 stars and watch its fast movement.

How many folks were able to track DA14 down in N. America?

I set up right at sunset on the East Coast and was able to find the asteroid after a little hunting with the help of my custom made chart from Skytools3.

Once I confirmed it I upped the power to 150x. The best views occurred when the asteroid passed a few bright stars. The brighter stars acting as reference points made it easier to detect movement. Since I have a non-tracking scope, I found it quite fortunate that the asteroid was visible so close to the north celestial pole since the background stars moved quite slowly and made it far easier to detect movement.

I thought the brigntess prediction of mag 11 was fairly accurate. I viewed for about an hour beginning at astronomical twilight (~715p EST). It was definitely a direct vision object.

I'd be interested in other observing reports, especially with regard to the estimated visual magnitude. A couple of friends who observed it (much more experienced than I) thought it much fainter than mag 11 (as faint as mag 14).

However, I am certain I saw it based on the movement, comparison with charts, etc, but my based on my experience, I'd put it somewhere in the mag 11-12 range. Of course, as time went on it faded, but the ST3 predictions didn't have it dropping below mag 13 until 1am.


 

#10 DwainM

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

Paul,
It wasn’t that long ago that I figured out how to run my CGEM with Sky Safari Pro (SSP) using the Bluetooth connection. If I didn’t have that working last night there is no way I could have tracked it down.

I started a soon as I could get a good alignment on my CGEM using a higher power eyepiece. While I was doing that I had SSP getting its updates. When I got the BT connection working I realigned SSP on one of the brighter stars in Ursa Minor.

From there I was able to use the ‘Go To’ feature to point at stars in the path of 2012 DA14. It took me a little while to figure out what I was looking for and then, there it was! I was able to slew the scope along the path and my grandkids and I took turn watching it at 165X.

I’m not experienced enough to talk about magnitude so I can’t really say. SSP said it was +12.1. When we first started it was still a bit light out and it was hard to pick it out of the field but after a little while the background got darker and it was easier to see. It looked to me to be about the same magnitude as other stars in the field but I’m not sure.

At one point we got distracted and lost track of it but we used ‘Go To’ again and it visible right in the center of the field.

Awesome stuff. This was my first asteroid observation. I can’t wait till do it again.

Clear Skies
Dwain
 

#11 panhard

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:32 PM

Please use this thread doe all posts re 2012DA 14. thread
 

#12 panhard

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:33 PM

This thread will now be locked.
 






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