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Thursday, January 29, 2015


2004 BL86's flyby seen from iTelescopes (25 and 28 January 2015)

Near Earth Asteroid 2004 BL86 imaged on 25 January using iTelescope T9 at Siding Siring Observatory. 10x60 second Luminance images stacked using ImageJ and SUMMED. The asteroid is the obvious blob, all the stars are smeared as the scope tracks on the asteroid (the little dots are hot pixels). Click to embiggen.8 of 10 frames from the 25th animated. The stars stream past, the asteroid stays still and the hot pixels drift to the left. Click to embiggen.

I manage to track Near Earth Asteroid 2004 BL86 with the Australian iTelescope T9 the day before closest approach. On the day of closest approach the scopes in the northern and southern hemispheres were both clouded out. At least I got to see it with my own scope.

Near Earth Asteroid 2004 BL86 imaged on 28 January using iTelescope T5 at New Mexico. 10x60 second Luminance images stacked using ImageJ and Maxed. The asteroid is the bunch of short lines, as this scope tracked on the stars. Click to embiggen.8 of 10 frames from the 28th animated. The asteroid moves as a short line because it is faster than the scope can track and the hot pixels flash in and out. Click to embiggen.

After a couple of days of bad weather, the skies cleared for the New Mexico scopes, and I was able to get some nice shots. The apparent "wobble" in the asteroid is due to tracking, not any rotation of the asteroid.

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Hello Ian

Managed to get peeks at NEO 2004BL86 from the Barber Grove Observatory (BGO) in Lower Hutt, NZ. Both pre-perigee and post-perigee. Used my 26cm f4.9 reflector with a 2 inch 30mm UWA Termi-Nagler (42.4x and 113 arcmin FOV), then slotted in my trusty SV15 GSO (85x and 49.4 arcmin FOV). Skytel charts near M44 suggested a flypast ~ 10:30 Ut on Jan 27th, between Rho 1 and Rho 2 Cnc, and sure enough, when I centred on 08:54 RA and +28:00 DEC, and waited... there it was in a largely blank field.... slowly plodding along (like a V8 Falcon at Bathurst!!) ~ 2.5 arcmin/minute, downwards towards my local horizon.

Personal Mv estimate 9.4 to 9.6.

Rather like passing between 2 goalposts at the MGC/SGC/WACCA... Eden Park/Basin Reserve for us Kiwis.

Really enjoyed the view. The Moon was nearly 3 1/2 times closer, and also in no danger of hitting us. The Asteroid wasn't "mountain sized".... only 325m diameter with a 70m moon orbiting some 500m distant from the parent... "Mother and child".

To mutilate a famous Julius Ceasar quote... "It came, I saw, it missed".

And my Aussie counterpart:- Chris Wyatt at Walcha, NSW got to see it too. Well done Chris.

100 years since Gallipoli and us ANZACs are still awesome!!

Regards and clear skies, to all out there.
Graham W. Wolf (BGO), Lower Hutt, NZ.
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