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Thursday, May 17, 2018

 

Seeing Vesta near M24 (May 2018)

Evening sky on Thursday May 17 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Saturn and Mars are clearly visible above the horizon. The Asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars to the left (north) of Saturn. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). Simulated binocular view of the region near Saturn showing the open cluster M24 and Vesta on Thursday May 17 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Vest will be close to M24 for around a week. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The asteroid 4 Vesta is now easily visible in binoculars, and is just under unaided eye visibility. It is brightening towards its opposition on 19 June, when it will be a potentially unaided eye object at magnitude 5.3.

Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing showing the movement of 4 Vesta over the next 30 days. Click to embiggen and print.

Now in Sagittarius, it is skimming along side the open cluster M24. This will look particularly nice in binoculars and wide field telescopes.

Locate Saturn in binoculars and sweep left (north) until you reach an obvious open cluster (M24). Vesta is brighter than most of the stars in the cluster, and starts at the bottom of the cluster, then moves up over subsequent days. 

You may need to watch over several nights to watch it move and confirm its identity. Towards the end of the month the waxing Moon will make the asteroid harder to see.

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