Thursday, May 17, 2018
Seeing Vesta near M24 (May 2018)
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.
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.