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Sunday, February 23, 2014


Seeing the Asteroid Pallas at Opposition

Location of the asteroid 2 Pallas at 9:00 pm ACDST as seen from Adelaide. The location is marked with the red cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at equivalent local times.You may need to wait until a little later for the sky to be dark enough to easily see the asteroid.A black and white chart suitable for printing to use with binoculars. The circle indicates the approximate field of view of 10x50 binoculars.Use the Stellarium chart to find Alphard in Hydrus, then sweep to the right.

The Asteroid 2 Pallas came to opposition on the 22nd of February and is magnitude 7.0. While not visible to the unaided eye, it is potentially easily visible in binoculars, and well remain so for several weeks.Now is a great time to try and spot the second asteroid ever discovered.

While reasonably bright, Pallas is located in a fairly nondescript field in Hydrus, not far from the brightest star in the rambling constellation, Alphard. So it may be the best way to identify Pallas is using the chart above, and noting which "star" moves from night to night. It becomes much easier towards the end of February, when it is closer to Alphard.

On 3 March 2 Pallas is almost on top of the otherwise nondescript magnitude 6.12 start HIP 46869.

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