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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Vesta flys by 40 Leonis

Last night (16 February, 2010), the Asteroid Vesta (the dot with the "v" next to it in the sketch, compare with this sketch) passed between 40 Leonis and Gamma Leonis. My plan to watch Vesta over the week as it approach the pair of stars was stymied by cloud and the occasional need to sleep.

Fortunately, the sky was clear on the 16th, unfortunately it was also fairly warm, making for horrid seeing conditions. This wasn't much of a problem for binocular sketching, but I also planned to follow Vesta in Don the 8" Newtonian reflector and my ToUCam WebCam.

The field of view of the webcam is pretty restricted, but I calculated that Vesta and 40 Leonis would fit in.

Surprisingly, after a brief interlude where I got the scope on completely the wrong stars, getting Vesta recorded with My ToUCam pro wasn't much of a problem. I did have to crank the shutter speed all the way down and the brightness all the way up (hence the background is blue in this overlay image).

I was able to image for about an hour (between Vesta being high enough to clear the trees and having to go to sleep from exhaustion). The movement of Vesta is clearly seen in the overlay image, and here is an animated gif file of Vesta's movement.

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