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Observations of Asteroid 1998 QE2


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I spent the last couple of nights tracking asteroid 1998 QE2. I enjoy tracking down asteroids at the best of times and was gutted when the clouds prevented me from trying to see the other close pass by an asteroid earlier in the year. So with unexpected clear skies heading my way Friday night and having done no prep work I hastily searched the internet for a map of where to find it, I don't have goto or setting circles or any of that mularky so need something to hop with. I found a pdf map but felt this probably would not get me close enough. I usually use CdC to guide me on these journeys so prompted an update of the asteroid database and low and behold CdC shows the asteroid.

Needed to wait until about midnight before the target area got high enough to clear the trees and street lights :rolleyes: but then got out there with the Revelation 10" dob. Starting at Zuben Elgenubi (alpha Lib) I hopped down to HD130563 using my 32mm Revelation plossl then switched to my ES 11 and identified a suspect object. A few minutes later the suspect object had moved giving itself away :grin: Followed it for about an hour (with a cheeky look at Saturn thrown in there somewhere) but then the clouds came in. Copy of my sketch attached below (please feel free to chuckle at my Saturn sketch).

post-16479-0-12736800-1370204486_thumb.j

Saturday rolled around and promised even better skies. Setup around the same time but took a little longer to identify the asteroid this time. Target field was not quite so distinctive this time and I ended up backing off from one suspect object as it failed to move. A reassessment of the field and change of eyepiece later made me realise that the asteroid was alittle off from where CdC was plotting it (just a couple of arcminutes but enough to throw me). Once I had fond it I followed it for an hour or more just watching it zip past the field stars, ok zip maybe somewhat subjective :p

Sky is due to be clear again tonight and looking at CdC bright stars near the target area are few and far between so could be a challenge! Copy of the pdf map I found attached below if it is of use to anyone.

NEO_1998_QE2_CH1_Finder_Chart.pdf

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Its on your track crossing dec -10 20' and RA 15 48 30 just past a wide double star and moving very slowly!

Just visible in the 90mm refractor as well using the 6mm eyepiece.

Thanks for your help as I would have missed it using the data from the british astronomy society which must be for London?

Mark

Sent from my BlackBerry 9320 using Tapatalk

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I thought I saw it but I didn`t, although I ended up spotting a load of space junk instead! First of all there was quite a fast moving object in the FOV in a N/S alignment but it was too fast to be the asteroid, then a couple of minutes later there was another fast moving object in a W/E alignment which was moving too fast as well.

It should be clear enough tonight to give it a go anyway.

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My tip is do not look for a moving object.

Get a map of all stars to mag 12 and the track and then look for the star that does not exist on the map...wait 3 mins and look again. If your suspect star has moved you have it..if not move on...

Its much harder than I thought it would be!

Mark

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