Vesta and Ceres Observation

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mike a feist
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Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

22 Mar 2014: Very clear night after some cloud disappeared.
1. Already had the location of Vesta and Ceres plotted on Uranometria, and when I found Mars had risen above the roof-tops and that the area between Arcturus and Mars was clearly visible, I started to search for these from the bedroom window using a 70mm Clubman spotting scope at x20. After some considerable time I had failed, mainly because I had not been able to pick out a distinctive star-pattern as an "anchor" for star-hopping, so decided to use 8x42 hand-held binoculars and Cambridge Star Atlas.
2. Soon located a tight binocular group of three stars (unlabelled in Uranometria) just north of the border, in Bootes. Working down into Virgo I came across a similarly bright (faint!) unlabelled star which led me across and up bit up to a star labelled CU and this lead to tau (93). These four "points" were in the shape of a frying pan (less handle). Beyond tau was star 92 and these two stars made a neat triangle with another object- Vesta.
3. Was finally able to locate all of this in the 70mm at x20 by 2145. Having started observing at about 2030 , I had spent over an hour nailing Vesta, I was pleased but exhausted and was going to turn-in but as a final shot decided to try and locate the fainter Ceres. This was near to CU Virginis, which I had already found and I pretty soon I was able to sort out which faint object nearby was Ceres. Easily visible in the 70mm and pickoutable by averted vision in the 8x42 binoculars. Hurrah!

23 Mar 2014 at 0455; With moonlight but Moon hidden and dawn breaking in the east, now having learn the star-fields around these asteroids, I was almost immediately able to locate them both again from the west-facing window using Minox MD50W scope at x16, rested against the window frame.

Certainly had to work for that! regards maf.
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

26th Mar 2014.0444. Managed another observation of these using Tasco 50mm at x12 spotting scope rested against the window-frame. Very obvious movements since last sighting. regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

29th March: weather much improved except that transparency is very poor and in the evening it took over half-an-hour to locate the brighter Vesta (found at 2142) and another 10 minutes to find the fainter Ceres. Both have moved some way since previous sighting, Vesta now being well beyond a line drawn between 92 and 93 (tau).[ I am finding the "Heavens above" Internet site very handy for these observations.] regards maf
nigeljoslin
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by nigeljoslin »

I've never tried asteroid spotting.. :) ..must give it a go!

Thanks for the tip about `Heavens Above', very good charts.
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

Tuesday 1st April: 0305-0320BST. Awoke to find the sky wonderfully clear so took the Tasco 50mm scope (@ x12) on lightweight tripod into the garden where I could see Mars shining brightly in the SE. Very soon located Vesta and then the fainter Ceres, both paired with fainter stars. Before returning inside and to bed, I looked at M3 and M13 and in this small scope the stars of the Milky Way in Cygnus were a joy to behold. regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

Thursday 3rd April 2014 0355-0405 BST: "very-average/rather poor transparency. The field-stars were relatively easily found from the back garden using Tasco 50mm (x12) spotting scope on light tripod. Vesta was easy to identify again but Ceres was a bit more difficult as fainter and about equal to a good number of nearby- stars. Having missed a day too due to clouds did not help but finally proved to be near the end of the curve of 4 stars above Vesta.[This was Obs #143 of Vesta and the Obs #41 of Ceres] regards maf
brian livesey
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by brian livesey »

Thanks Mike for describing some of what can be achieved with small apertures :wink: .
brian
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

Vesta and more (and less!) : [Obs #144]: 4th April 2014; After sunset the western sky cleared enabling a good view of the crescent Moon. The eastern and especially the south eastern sky took ages to clear and it was not until 2229BST that I finally managed to locate Vesta, 92 and 93 Virginis.
Before sunrise on the 5th April ; 0555 - 0610BST, Mars was setting in the west over Southwick Hill and Venus was rising above the south-eastern rooftops. I attempted to snap both using a digital camera through the Clubman 70mm spotting-scope at low fixed power*.

* Low fixed power! This spotting scope is supplied with a zoom eyepiece the high powers being rather poor and the lower having a limited fov. The scope is sold c/w eyepiece but with the eyepiece being packed separately but for an all-in price [ about £125 together]. The zoom eyepiece fits the standard 1.25" diameter tube and fixed magnification eyepieces "are available" instead of or as well as the zoom although this choice is not available in the shop . As like other observers, I do have a number of eyepieces already, I tried one of these. There was a slight problem! One could not achieve focus at infinity because as the scope has a 45deg prism within, and the shiny-tube of the standard eyepiece is too long and the eyepiece could not drop in "to the shoulder" as it were. As the eyepiece was cheap a lightweight 25mm wide angle one, (obtained in the past I know not where, I unscrewed the shiny-tube from the optical part and it being aluminium, I carefully cut off 1/4" from the end. Reassembling it, it now focuses fine and about as a 15x70 scope with fov of 3 degrees- the Belt Stars of Orion just fit across the fov.
regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

Monday 7th April 2014, weather pretty horrible here during the day and raining until late evening. However by 2235-2255 BST the sky was finally very clear so ventured into the back garden (actually quite cold with the scope dewing up when I brought in in later!) with 15x70 Clubman on tripod and very soon located yet again the two asteroids Vesta and Ceres (I still call then both asteroids!) and they both fitted the fov = about 3 degrees. Ceres is currently running up the lefthand side of the curve of 4 similarly bright stars (similar to each other and similar to Ceres...= about 7th mag) the brighter Vesta being across to the right. [Vesta obs # 145 & Ceres obs #42]
regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

Tuesday 8th April 2014: 2145-2200BST: This area of sky not yet visible from the garden so observed from bedroom window using 15x70 Clubman scope. Both easily located just within same fov as previously. [Obs Vesta (#146), Obs Ceres (#43)] regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

9th April Wednesday 2130BST: Located Vesta & Ceres again through the window but this time using MAK70 after using this scope to look at the Moon from the garden. However although this scope gives good views of the lunar surface, it is the "wrong tool for the job" for viewing these asteroids as the fov is too small making it difficult, firstly to locate them and then they will not fit the fov. [Vesta obs#147 and Ceres obs#44]
10th April Thursday 0345-0415 BST: Sky very clear so to garden with Tasco 50mm spotting scope on light-weight tripod. Very soon located Vesta & Ceres up from Mars, lowish in the southwest. [Vesta obs#148 and Ceres obs#45]
10th April Thursday 2200-2210BST: From bedroom window using Cluman 70 scope + K20 eyepiece (giving about x20 mag). Sky rather murky low in the southeast and increasing moonlight becoming a bit of a problem and will continue for get worse for a while. However although the fov at this magnification is only about 2 deg I was able to locate both Vesta and Ceres separately relatively easily. [Vesta Obs#149 and Ceres Obs#46]
regards maf
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

12th April Saturday 2130-2150BST: Very bright moonlight. Initially used Tasco 50mm spotting scope and then Clubman 70mm spotting scope with 25mm w/a eyepiece, from bedroom window. Vesta was quite easy to locate, about 1 degree below 84 Virginis but at first was unable to pinpoint Ceres. Then found it, in the Clubman, neatly paired with one of the stars of the curved asterism, just above the star and slightly brighter than that star.[Vesta Obs#150 and Ceres Obs#47] regards maf
Last edited by mike a feist on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

13th April Sunday: 2124-2135BST. Almost Full Moon about 12 degrees from Mars, but Moon not visible in the east-facing window. Located 84 Virginis, with Vesta about a degree below it, using Clubman 70 (with 25mm w/a eyepiece).[Any attempt to find the fainter Ceres was considered doomed to failure due moonlight.].[Vesta Obs#151]
mike a feist
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by mike a feist »

14th April Monday: 2100BST, Full Moon with Mars about 3 degrees above it made an attractive sight but suggested that this would interfere with finding Vesta. However by 2154 BST, I managed to locate Vesta, 84 and 78 Virginis using Tasco 50mm scope from the window with the Moon no longer visible from the window (but not Ceres). [Vesta Obs#152]

15th April Tuesday: 2129-2156BST, Very clear sky but with Full Moon (with v slight terminator effect at Mare Crisium limb) visible from bedroom window although this did not stop a relatively easy sighting of Vesta, 84 and 78 Virginis, using Clubman 70 (with K20 eyepiece). The two stars just fitted into the fov of this eyepiece and Vesta to 84 was about 1/5th the fov. As a guide, the Moon (1/2 deg) was about 1/4 this fov. [Vesta Obs#153]

16th April Wednesday: 2124-2200BST, Using Clubman 70 (with K20 ep) from bedroom window soon located Vesta and 84 Virginis. The sky was clear and the Moon had not yet appeared. [Vesta Obs#154].

17th April Thursday: 0240BST, Some strips of cirrus and Moon bright in south (Saturn nearby). Used Clubman 70 again, this time from the garden to look at Vesta and 84 Virginis. [Vesta Obs#155]

18th April Friday: 0130-0140BST, after clearance of clouds, brilliant Gibbous Moon in the south and Mars in the SW. Vesta, 84 and 78 Virginis were easily located from the garden using Clubman 70 with K20 eyepiece and then Ceres found too. Ceres and 84 in the same fov but Vesta and Ceres not. [Vesta Obs#156, Ceres Obs#48]
David1952
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Re: Vesta and Ceres Observation

Post by David1952 »

Hi, I managed to get a wide-field image of Mar, Vesta and Ceres. I have been waiting for th moon to be out of the way! It was taken with a fixed 50 f1.4 lens and 10 frames stacked.

Weather permitting I hope to build up a series over the summer.

David
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