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Friday, October 29, 2010

 

Asteroid 2003 UV11 zips past tonight

The Earth and Moon as seen from asteroid 2003 UV11 at closest approach, simulated in Celestia.

Asteroid 2003 UV11 will flash through our skies tonight and tomorrow morning. Unlike 2010 TD54, 2003 UV11 will be relatively sedate and bright (magnitude 11.9 at its brightest).

Australian observers are best positioned to see the asteroid at its brightest (looks at cloud outside, and GRAS G14 is offline [sob], no back online now), but the relatively low distance above the horizon (32 degrees from Adelaide at the time of brightest approach) will make it a bit hard to follow. You will need a decent telescope to see the asteroid, binoculars won’t pick it up.

I have made spotters maps, which you can see over at my GRAS blog. To make your own, you can download orbital elements for this asteroid from the Minor Planet Ephemeris Center, or hand enter them from here:

Epoch 2010 July 23.0 TT = JDT 2455400.5 MPC
M 278.16307 (2000.0) P Q
n 0.56393601 Peri. 124.79517 -0.91668496 -0.39581712 T = 2455545.61740 JDT
a 1.4509401 Node 31.98952 +0.32434442 -0.81726321 q = 0.3440439
e 0.7628821 Incl. 5.95175 +0.23342962 -0.41881936 Earth MOID = 0.00748 AU
P 1.75 H 19.4 G 0.15 U 2

Location of 2003 UV11 in the sky above Adelaide, at 10:00 ACDST visualized in Stellarium (click to embiggen)

As usual I have made a Stellarium file and a Celestia file for the asteroid. As usual, add the Stellarium elements to the end of the system.ini file and save the Celestia file in extras. The Stellarium file makes the asteroid brighter than it should be, for easy spotting, to be more realistic set the radius to 0.3.



[2003UV11]
name = 2003UV11
parent = Sun
radius = 3
oblateness = 0.0
albedo = 0.15
lighting = true
orbit_visualization_period = 1325.46
halo = true
color = 1.0,1.0,1.0
tex_halo = star16x16.png
tex_map = nomap.png
coord_func = comet_orbit
orbit_Epoch = 2455400.5
orbit_TimeAtPericenter = 2455545.61740
orbit_MeanAnomaly = 278.16307
orbit_SemiMajorAxis = 1.4509401
orbit_Eccentricity = 0.7628821
orbit_ArgOfPericenter = 124.79517
orbit_AscendingNode = 31.98952
orbit_Inclination = 5.95175

======================================2003UV11.ssc=======================================
"2003 UV11" "Sol"
{
Class "asteroid"
Mesh "ky26.cmod"
Texture "asteroid.jpg"
Radius 0.3 # maximum semi-axis
MeshCenter [ -0.000718 -0.000099 0.000556 ]

InfoURL "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_UV11"

EllipticalOrbit
{
Epoch 2455400.5 # Epoch 2010 July 23.0
Period 1.75
SemiMajorAxis 1.4509401
Eccentricity 0.7628821
Inclination 5.95175
AscendingNode 31.98952
ArgOfPericenter 124.79517
MeanAnomaly 278.16307
}

RotationPeriod 0.178 #made up

Albedo 0.15 #made up

}
=========================================================================================

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