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Chasing Vesta

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#1 jrkirkham

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:09 AM

Vesta is coming into opposition and currently shines at magnitude 6.3.

 

My original thought was to capture it with a DSLR, C11, and a .63 focal reducer. I thought I would try for one picture before midnight, then a second picture before dawn, then a third the next night before midnight. the goal is to catch it moving and prove I have it.  When I was playing with Stellarium however, I began to think I'm using too much focal length. If I am just trying to document that I found it perhaps I should try my DSLR on a simple tripod with a 90mm or 400mm lens. I am sure that a number of you have captured asteroids before. What would be your favorite setup?

 

 


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#2 Redbetter

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 02:07 AM

I observe it naked eye at times, so in some ways that is my favorite.  I haven't looked at it this year, but it is just brighter than 6.0 magnitude now.  Easy target for any aperture visually.

 

It is a little over 0.5 arc seconds across at this time, large enough that it can be resolved in the 20" if the seeing is decent.   


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#3 dhkaiser

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 07:26 AM

Something you will want to consider is the moon not far away approaching full.


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#4 jrkirkham

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 09:16 AM

Yes, I noticed the moon was close. The weather in Illinois just cleared up and I may have jumped the gun a bit. I have a few weeks to try for it. If I can't get it this weekend I may just open the observatory, clean and get it ready for spring. I think I may go for a wider field of view than I would get with the C11. My first inclination was to go with a scope because I didn't think asteroids moved that quickly. It seems to me like Vesta moves pretty fast. If I take three shots over a 24hr. period I think I can catch movement with about any focal length. 



#5 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 02:14 PM

There's an article on Vesta with a finder chart on pages 48 and 49 of the March issue of Sky & Telescope. 


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