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Asteroid 4 Vesta Opposes Sun 2022 AUG 22


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Asteroid 4 Vesta will appear within Capricornus in opposition to the Sun on 2022 AUG 22. It is the asteroid that can get the brightest, and at stellar magnitude +5.8 it should be visible to sharp naked eyes. Vesta was discovered in 1807 and has a mean diameter of 525 km.

Photos and descriptions of Vesta would be welcome additions to this thread.


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Unfortunately, at opposition Vesta will transit at only 13 deg altitude for me at 54 deg N :( . It'll be a struggle from my usual observing location. 

Last year I got a nice image of Vesta passing through the outer members of M10 globular cluster sometime near opposition. Vesta doesn't seem to do anything so exciting on this opposition, at least not that will fit within my imaging frame.

There is a wide angle photo opportunity on or around the 14th when Vesta passes about 2 deg N of NGC7293 The Helix planetary nebula. Unfortunately the Moon is going to be a bit of a nuisance at that time.


Edit: I see it was Juno I imaged last year, not Vesta! 😱


Edited by Paul M
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  • 3 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Paul M said:

I'd like to say that the excitement is building. But unfortunately only the clouds are building here. Maybe tomorrow...


Here in Florida, not only are we getting the usual early evening rain clouds, but also dust clouds from the Sahara. At least the latter inhibit hurricanes during what is normally hurricane season.

Vesta will still be out most of the night for quite a while. We await your report and photos.

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OK, I got this!

We're up at our rural getaway. Used to be a dark site but urban sprawl has taken its toll. Still better than home. And when I just took the dogs out it was clear.

I do have my old 6.25 in Fullerscope Newt here but nowhere to put it with a good S horizon. So 10 x 50 bins were brought out.

So, starting from Saturn I projected a curved line SE through the gap between delta and gamma Cap for about the right distance, looking for asterisms to look for in SkySafari. After some zonining in and getting the feel for the field of view I noticed a "squashed trapeze" formed by 41, 47 and KV Aqr, the 4th star, at the apex being Vesta! I confirmed the capture by further identifying faint field stars.

Just for fun I tried to make out the Helix nebula, close by but it was below the sky glow too close to the horizon - just 10deg at my site in Cumbria.

I then tried for Juno higher up just to the east but cloud once again took over the sky just as i was homing in. I suspect it would have been a challenge at mag 8.3 with bins and my tired eyes.

Edited by Paul M
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