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How would I go about identifying this object?

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#1 cshine

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 06:59 AM

Hello all, I was imaging the Rosette nebula on Jan 23/24 and happened to catch a slow moving object passing by.. I would love to learn how to generate the astromemetry data for such an object and trace it back to an identification. Here's a 3-frame animation , object is right of center:

 

Rosette object-opt.gif

 

My first thought was geostationary sat but according to Stellarium there was nothing in that location. "GeoLITE" (NORAD 26770) was close by at the end of the imaging session but passed by the Rosette in about 20 minutes. 

 

I imported a few asteroid lists into Stellarium but nothing showed up in that area either. I'd appreciate any guidance on how to figure this out. There's a platesolved image here if that helps. 

 

Thanks


Edited by cshine, 13 February 2020 - 07:11 AM.

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#2 Tapio

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 07:22 AM

I usually search with CdC (loading MPC file frequently) or using this:
https://minorplanetc...bin/mpcheck.cgi

 

Both tell me that it is this:

(4418) Fredfranklin    06 30 40.6 +05 10 37  17.4 (mag)


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#3 cshine

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 08:40 AM

I usually search with CdC (loading MPC file frequently) or using this:
https://minorplanetc...bin/mpcheck.cgi

Both tell me that it is this:
(4418) Fredfranklin 06 30 40.6 +05 10 37 17.4 (mag)

Awesome, thank you!

#4 *skyguy*

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 12:06 PM

I believe there's been a miss-identification on the object in the image. An "eyeball" estimation of it's brightness places it at around 11-12 magnitude. There are also several other asteroids in the FOV that are around 17.5 magnitude that are not visible in the image.

 

A better match would be (238) Hypatia at 12.4 magnitude which matches the direction and speed of this object.

 

Nice catch ....

 

238_Hypatia_124mag.jpg


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#5 cshine

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 04:18 PM

Thanks, appreciate you taking the time to check. What software is this graphic from? This is exactly what I was looking for..

#6 Tapio

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:31 AM

Skyguy - you might be right.

My suggestion was the brightest MPChecker found int that area and that date, but seemed too faint.

You have the right place and date for your search ?



#7 catalogman

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 11:37 AM

Attached is a screenshot of the OP's field from CdC. Stars are to mag 14.5.

 

--catalogman

Attached Thumbnails

  • CdC_field.jpg

Edited by catalogman, 15 February 2020 - 11:37 AM.

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#8 *skyguy*

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:53 PM

Thanks, appreciate you taking the time to check. What software is this graphic from? This is exactly what I was looking for..

I use TheSky 6 to plot over 781,00 asteroids listed in the MPCORB.DAT database found on the Minor Planet Center's website:

 

https://www.minorpla...iau/MPCORB.html

 

This database can also be directly imported in the correct format to other planetarium programs on this list:

 

https://www.minorpla...oftwareEls.html

 

I'm sure there are other planetarium programs ... low cost or possibly free ones ... with the capability to plot out the large MPCORRB.DAT asteroid database.


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#9 *skyguy*

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:29 PM

Skyguy - you might be right.

My suggestion was the brightest MPChecker found int that area and that date, but seemed too faint.

You have the right place and date for your search ?

I place the asteroid ... (4418) Fredfranklin ...  near top left side, just outside the image and very near the core. Asteroid (238) Hypatia is about 1 degree from (4418) Fredfranklin. If you redo the parameters on MPChecker with a search radius of 70 arc-minutes, (238) Hypatia will pop-up as the brightest asteroid, by far. (4418) Fredfranklin also pops-up on the list.



#10 Tapio

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 04:35 PM

Okay, had too narrow search radius.
Case closed.

#11 cshine

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 10:38 AM

Thanks all, very informative. 

 

If it helps another newbie in the future here's a summary of how I would identify a mystery object next time:

 

Get the approx J2000 RA/Dec location of the image, in this case the Rosette nebula:

 

Location.JPG

 

Go to the Minor Planet Center's MPChecker webpage here and enter the year, month and day of the observation, with the day in decimal form (24.4 being about 9am (UT) on the 24th, so 3am local CST for my location). The RA Dec location is entered as shown (i.e without the "h" or "m").

 

I wouldn't expect to capture anything below mag 17 with my equipment/skyglow so I set that as the limit. To get everything in that general vicinity I set a pretty wide search radius of 120 arc mins. Hit the "Produce List" button:

 

Search.JPG

 

It's a pretty short list and Hypatia stands out as the brightest object at mag 12

 

Result.JPG

 

To see the location of Hypatia in Stellarium I had to explicitly add it using the Solar System Editor (under Configuration--> Plugins) using the Import Orbital Elements option:

 

add1.JPG

 

add2.JPG

 

add3.JPG

 

With the observation date/time set correctly in Stellarium Hypatia shows up in the expected location and has the right movement during the 4 hour window:

 

Found.JPG


Edited by cshine, 16 February 2020 - 10:59 AM.

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#12 *skyguy*

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:05 AM

Thanks all, very informative. 

 

If it helps another newbie in the future here's a summary of how I would identify a mystery object next time:

 

That's a very well thought out workflow to determine the identity of an unknown asteroid in an image. Even better since it's a "zero cost" solution that anyone could use without investing any money on costly astronomy programs.

 

Now, you''ll need to give some thought on how to identifying earth orbiting satellites when you spot them in your images. wink.gif


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