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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

 

Asteroid Vesta 25-29 January 2017

Asteroid Vesta on January 25, 2017, at 11:30 pm ACDST. 10x 15 second ASA 400 images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker. Click to embiggen. Asteroid Vesta on January 27, 2017, at 11:30 pm ACDST. 10x 15 second ASA 400 images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker. Click to embiggen.

The asteroid Vesta is just below unaided eye visibility (magnitude 6.5) and moving through Gemini. It is easily visible in binoculars, although you  might need to watch from night to night to see it move as there are several dim stars in the area. I had good conditions for several nights in a row (despite fearsome mosquitoes) and was able to see it drift towards kappa (𝛋) Geminorium. I made an animation (see below) from the images I captured.

Animation of images from 25 January to 29 January showing the moment of Vesta.Click to embiggen.Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing (click to embiggen and print). The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. The small that of a 4" Newtonian telescope with a 24 mm eyepiece.

Over the next few night it will be very close to kappa (𝛋) Geminorium, making Vesta very easy of find. Kappa (𝛋) Geminorium is the next brightest star in almost a line with Castor and Pollux, which makes it a easy telescopic signpost.

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