Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Seeing Vesta at Opposition (23 August 2022)
|The North-east horizon as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 ACST (8:00 pm) showing the location of Vesta (click to embiggen) on Tuesday, August 23, when Vesta is at opposition and at its brightest.Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time.||The approximate binocular view of Vesta and the four guide stars at 20:00 ACST (8:00 pm) on Tuesday, August 23. The helix nebula is shown but will not be visible in binoculars(click to embiggen, similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time).|
|Black and white horizon chart facing east suitable for printing showing the guide objects of 4 Vesta Saturn and Fomalhaut as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Use the charts above to orient yourself to get to the guide stars.||Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing showing the movement of 4 Vesta over August. The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Click to embiggen and print. Use the horizon chart to the left for orientation first.|
The Asteroid 4 Vesta is one of the iconic minor planets, and
one of two orbited by the Dawn spacecraft. At favorable
oppositions Vesta is bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye under dark
sky conditions. This year it gets to magnitude 5.8 just over unaided eye visibility at dark sky sites. Not really visible from suburban skies, but it will be easily visible in binoculars and small telescopes.
This year on Tuesday, August 23 is a okay opposition of Vesta, when it will reach a magnitude of 5.8 at its brightest with reasonable guide stars. The next bright opposition is May 2025 it will reach magnitude 5.6 with good guide stars.
The Full Moon interfered significantly early on earlier in the month, but now the skies are free from interference. Just before opposition, at opposition and several days after opposition Vesta is bright and easily seen. 17 August to 4 September may be best.