Astronomy and Astronometry

Inspired by one of the projects undertaken by our January 2017 Public Lecture speaker, Rob Ince, from Preston; here are a few starter projects to get you to locate some of the smaller bodies of the soar system - Asteroids.

Enclosed are star charts for the track of two of the brighter asteroids, Vesta and Pallas:

Vesta - http://www.space.com/12097-vesta-asteroid-facts-solar-system.html

and

Pallas - https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pallas

Vesta is bright enough to be found with binoculars. Palls is much fainter and will be a challenge in even large binoculars but should be visible with a small telescope.

The best way to see them is to watch the patch of sky in the star charts and see if you can spot the asteroid moving across the field. This movement belies the fact that it is an asteroid and not a background star.

If you want to do more observing why not get involved in a continuing study.

More details can be found here.... http://www.minorplanet.info/observingguides.html

If you have accurate timing available and a very good mount for precise positional measurements and photography then you can register to become an asteroid watcher.

If you can take pictures it is possible to determine the rotation period of an asteroid.

Sometimes asteroid occult a star - that is it covers it up and blocks the light from the star. With accurate timing and positional measurements it is possible to make a check on the asteroid's orbit and this may show up if it has been in a collision with another asteroid or has had its orbit perturbed by one of the giant planets such as Jupiter. 

This can be important for Asteroids that have Earth-crossing orbits - i.e. dinosaur - and potentially us - killers.

If you are really lucky you may discover your own asteroid.

 

AttachmentSize
Vesta_web.jpg345.23 KB
Pallas_web.jpg341.42 KB