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I've just seen Santa!


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Yes. I have really just seen Santa! Asteroid 1288 Santa.

There really is an asteroid called Santa. I don't know much about it, or why it was named after the jovial bearded one, apart from the fact that it is a main belt asteroid of around 39 km diameter discovered on August 26th 1933 by Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte Joseph.

It's currently quite near Jupiter in the sky at around magnitude 17, and I managed this quick capture between clouds. 8 x 60 second exposures, Atik 383L, 2x bin, 200mm f/5 Newt. Field of view 68 x 51.2 arcmin.

Strangely, I realise that I have captured this asteroid before. Almost exactly 9 years ago on this very forum I posted a capture of it, with a similar facetious comment about having seen Santa! My imaging skills haven't improved over the years.

 

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A closeup of its movement over a period of about 30 mins.

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