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Saturday, September 06, 2014

 

NEO 2014 RC flys by on 7-8 September, 2014




NEO 2014 RC as seen from Siding Springs Observatory from 1:15 am 8 September - 5:15 am (15:15 - 19:15 UT 7 September). The crosses mark the position of the asteroid every 5 minutes. Positions calculated in Horizon Track from JPL horizons data. click to embiggen.

Near Earth Asteroid  2014 RC will  come close to Earth on 18:00 UT 7 September at distance of 0.0003 AU (around 0.15 Earth-Moon distances). It has an estimated diameter of  20m. It is brightest at 17:15 UT though.

The asteroid is currently magnitude 19, and will be a reasonably mag 11.2 at closest approach, despite its small size.

The asteroid is well placed for southern observers, and will be relatively bright (magnitude 13 to 11) from midnight on. Imaging this may be difficult as the asteooid is moving too fast to track. OIndeed you will need a widefield objective to see the asteroid falsh past at cloest approach around 3 am on Sunday. .

NEO 2014 RC as seen from Siding Springs Observatory from 2:50 am 8 September - 3:50 am (16:50 - 17:50 UT 7 September). The crosses mark the position of the asteroid every 5 minutes.

Positions calculated in Horizon Track from JPL horizons data. The circles mark the different location of the Asteroid im MPC (2014 RC) and JPL (2014 RA) data click to embiggen.

NEO 2014 RC  passes from Aquarius through Sculptor and Phoenix to Eriadanus.

The asteroid is visible from start of astronomical twilight in the evening of the 7 September local time (magnitude 14) until end of astronomical twilight on the 8th (local time).

You will need to use a topocentric ephemeris and camp out on the asteroid track.

There is a substantial parallax effect (gretaer than one defree 1 degree), so unless your planetarium program is able to cope with close parallax (most can't), you will need to work from topocentric coordinates. You will need your latitude and longitude for an accurate ephemeris from you position.

For topocentric ephemerides go to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html

Always use the latest possible orbital elements and ephemeris.  The planning guides to viewing YU55 here and here will help organising topocentric ephemerides for close approaching NEO's.

You will need to use unguided exposures. Choose a point where the asteroid will pass and aim at that. 

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