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Monday, February 08, 2010


Vesta observed (6 and 7 February 2010)

Right: Sketch of Vesta near gamma Leonis on the 6th and 7th of February (Vesta indicated by a "v"), Left; Skymap Pro chart of same area.

While Mars is hogging the limelight at the moment, asteroid Vesta is heading for opposition later this month. As Vesta is near Gamma and 40 Leonis, finding it in binoculars is very easy (and Vesta will pass between gamma and 40 Leonis later in the Month too, a very interesting sight).

Since my webcam based imaging system isn't really up to faint stars, I've been sketching through binoculars. My sketches haven't turned out too badly, and the positions of stars and Vesta are pretty good considering I'm just holding my pad (size differences due to my binoculars having a smaller field of view). Some of the stars appear "double", but thats me just trying to darken up the dots, and missing the original in the dark. I can make out stars down to magnitude 9 through the binouclars on a bark night under suburban skies!

Anyone else sketching or imaging Vesta can send me their images if they like and I'll put them up here.

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