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Does anyone image asteroids?

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#1 ryanha

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:39 AM

Just saw an article about 1999 RM45 which is apparently a large-ish asteroid that supposed to fly by earth on March 2.

 

Is this the sort of thing that can be imaged?

 

Im going to look into it but wanted to check here if anyone has pointers.

 

--Ryan



#2 Supernova74

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:53 AM

Hi the short answer is yes I personally don,t as I’m a visual observer.however there are dedicated imagers who do asteroid hunt on a regular basis I did see an article on the subject on the sky ant night uk based long running show.

if anything as the professional amateur Astronomers don,t have telescope time for asteroid detecting as are mainly observing other areas in the subject like exo planets,supernova,and various other fields,thay actually rely on the amateur for observing asteroids.



#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:56 AM

Most all of us deep-sky guys image asteroids... most often without even realizing it until afterwards (if at all). Here's an old film image where I snagged one, back around 1985.    Tom

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#4 jgreif

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:01 PM

The short answer is "yes."  If you haven't done this before, start by becoming familiar with the IAU Minor Planet Center:  If there is a particular NEO (asteroid) that you want to image, obtain its Ephemeris using the tool here: https://minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html.  I then use my remote telescope service: iTelescope.net, to program the ephemeris into an observing plan, and will generally use a planetarium program (like Sky Safari) to pick an ideal time, date and location and telescope size (generally the largest available), and track on the object.  That makes the object more or less pinpoint, while the stars trail, making the object obvious in the image.  My duration of exposure is generally 300 sec.  Here is one I did not too long ago, and the description:

Near Earth Object Florence (NEO 3122), a giant (2.7 miles in diameter -- half the size of Mt. Everest), irregular shaped asteroid is making its closest approach to Earth today and tomorrow.  It will safely pass us at approximately 18 Earth-Moon distances away, but it is the largest asteroid to pass this close to Earth since asteroid tracking began nearly a century ago. I was able to view and image it in the early morning hours today, using the 430 mm diameter Planewave reflecting telescope (T21) and imaging and science platform at the iTelescope.net observatory in Mayhill, NM.  The asteroid, which is moving at 30,266 miles per hour, appears still in the image and the surrounding stars appear in motion.  This is because the telescope and its mount are tracking on the asteroid.  More about Florence at: http://earthsky.org/...22-florence....

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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:03 PM

Here's a deliberate shot from 2015 with the Beehive Cluster. (aiming to the left of it and shooting some extra time before/after was my strategy)

 

Full screen is best, enters at the bottom edge, about 1/3 of the way in from the lefthand edge.

 

https://www.youtube....eature=youtu.be

 

A planetary camera (this was a NEX5T) and an experienced imager (I'd been doing this for 6 months) would have done a better job.


Edited by bobzeq25, 23 February 2021 - 12:08 PM.

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#6 kathyastro

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:06 PM

I don't regularly go after asteroids, but I have imaged a couple.

 

3122 Florence on a near-Earth pass, processed as a trail:

3122 Florence-s1-p1-1000px.jpg

 

4 Vesta (the bright object), with comet processing to make its  image stationary:

LRGB-1000px.jpg


Edited by kathyastro, 23 February 2021 - 12:07 PM.

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#7 Tapio

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:18 PM

Yes, it's going to be like mag 14 when it's closest and brightest.

 

There was a time when I tried to image as many Suomi (Finland) minor planets as I could.

Thanks to Yrjö Väisälä there were many to be imaged.

Some do minor planet photometry too (to measure rotation period).

 

Btw, did you notice this ?



#8 D_talley

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:00 PM

I try to discover new asteroids with a program developed by a guy named Daniel.  The software lets you take shots of a field of stars and it will show all moving objects in that field and identify them. Any un-identified objects will give you a chance to research them and may result in  them being a newly discovered object.  

You can do this on moonlit nights when you are not imaging DSOs.  

 

https://www.cloudyni...ycho/?hl= tycho



#9 Dan Crowson

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 04:19 PM

I have quite a few in an album here - https://www.flickr.c...157632773671313. I tend to make images of these when there's nothing else to image or when they just end up being in my FoV. As you'll see, there are quite a few methods.

Dan


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#10 freestar8n

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 05:38 PM

When an asteroid does something unusual like sprout a faint tail, I may image it:

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

Frank


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#11 John Rogers

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:53 PM

Just saw an article about 1999 RM45 which is apparently a large-ish asteroid that supposed to fly by earth on March 2.

 

Is this the sort of thing that can be imaged?

 

Im going to look into it but wanted to check here if anyone has pointers.

 

--Ryan

Check out this recent post: https://www.cloudyni...004-mn4-apophis

 

1999 RM45 will be moving more than 1"/sec, so you need to keep your exposure short if you don't want it to trail, and take a sequence of images to make an animation.  Or, you can take a longer one to see it trail against the background stars.  If your system is capable of it, you can move the telescope at the speed and direction of the asteroid, to get the asteroid as a dot and background stars as trails.

 

Depending on your field-of-view, you will may need to move the telescope often.



#12 CapnRon

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:15 PM

I imaged 3 of them by accident while imaging M105 last weekend.  After processing I thought I had a moving reflections in my setup or something because I had 3 objects that moved in the image.  It turns out they were three asteroids, see the thread in Beginning Deep sky Imaging:

https://www.cloudyni...nd-win-a-prize/


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#13 bobzeq25

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 12:27 AM

At 1,800,000 miles I don't think 1999 RM45 will be very bright.

 

Wait until 2029.  Apophis will come to 18,300 miles.  (Duck!) 

 

Magnitude 3.  That will be something to see.  <smile>


Edited by bobzeq25, 24 February 2021 - 01:45 AM.

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#14 LorenBall

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 01:15 PM

"Does anyone image asteroids?"

I really wish that I knew how many hours I have spent over the last 20+ years imaging asteroids.

The number is in the thousands, Ryanha.


https://en.wikipedia...i/Loren_C._Ball


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#15 LorenBall

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 01:23 PM

If you want to view or image an asteroid, 4 Vesta is a good place to start.

At magnitude 6.3 in Leo right now, Vesta is pretty easy to locate.

This image was taken with my 7" Maksutov Cassegrain and iPhone XR camera in November 2019. 

It is a stack of 30 images, 10 second exposures each. 

The apps I use are Nebulosity 4, GIMP, Snapseed, and Apple Photos.

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#16 ryanha

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 01:20 PM

If you want to view or image an asteroid, 4 Vesta is a good place to start.

At magnitude 6.3 in Leo right now, Vesta is pretty easy to locate.
 

Thanks for the pointer!

 

I am going to look to add this to my nightly sequence.

 

Can you point me to a good resource for finding the ones that are visible now?  E.g. how did you know 4 Vesta was good viewing now?

 

Thanks!

 

--Ryan



#17 ryanha

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 02:18 PM

@LorenBall, do I see a bit of blue in your 4 Vesta or is that just an artifact?  Trying to decide if I should bother with RGB or just go with L (my camera is monochrome).

 

--Ryan



#18 Lead_Weight

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 04:21 PM

I'm pretty sure I captured one once as a video! I correlated time and location in several satellite apps and couldn't find anything in the area.

 

get.jpg?insecure



#19 yzhzhang

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 04:28 PM

I also noticed one during processing of DSO images, as shown in a short video here.

https://www.cloudyni...ect/?p=10833200

 

Later I found out that there are actually 3 asteroids in the same frame! And if you examine your rejecting map for stacking, I bet you'll find one or more short trails that's actually asteroids.



#20 APshooter

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 05:56 PM

Yes!

 

get.jpg?insecure


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#21 pejorde

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 02:52 AM


Can you point me to a good resource for finding the ones that are visible now?  E.g. how did you know 4 Vesta was good viewing now?

 

 

Most likely your favorite planetarium program can display asteroids and allow you to set limiting magnitude etc. There are several on-line asteroid resources:

NASA JPL Horizons: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons

The Minor Planet Center: https://minorplanetcenter.net

Lowell Observatory: https://asteroid.lowell.edu/upobjs/

 

As these are professional sites they can be a bit daunting for a beginner, so if you just want to see what's up your planetary program is the easiest way to get started. Just make sure your asteroid database is updated frequently: because of planetary pertubations, asteroid orbital elements change a little (and sometimes by quite a lot) over time.

 

Per Erik



#22 BobT

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 10:18 AM

Only asteroid I photographed was 2004BL86 back in January of 2015.  Here's an AVI I created.  Haven't done an asteroid since.

 

As far as software goes, Sky Tools 4 has a pretty good database for asteroids and minor planets.

 

BobT


Edited by BobT, 26 February 2021 - 10:22 AM.


#23 ryanha

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 09:32 PM

I got 4 Vesta last night and have it in my nightly sequence for the next week of so. Will be fun to make an animation of that!

Thanks for the pointers!


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