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Book Project: Discovering Asteroids


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I am trying to bag a few asteroids next year, so I decided some finder charts would be helpful, so I am working on a book to guide me through the coming year. The format is simple - just some widefield overview charts to show what's up, and the detailed charts showing stars down to magnitude 11 to pick out the little things in the star field. The data is coming from the NASA Horizons service.

I am hoping to make a few animations of the fainter ones, and of course some naked-eye spotting of the brighter ones.

Here are a few sample pages (note there is currently a bug in the RA/DEC grid causing it to be horribly out of alignment):



I am rebuilding my code for generating charts to make them more modular and layered, so there are a few issues at the moment with label scaling, clip boxes and so on, but I hope once it is done my codebase will be a lot more maintainable!

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I sorted out the misalignment of the RA/DEC grid, and cleaned up the code that handles label positioning.  I will be able to start on the writing aspects of the book soon - 150 asteroids to research.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One concern I have is ensuring that the coordinate systems for the background stars and the asteroids (which have different data sources) are in alignment. I realized tonight I can simply generate charts for known historical occultations to verify this. I had hoped to verify directly with a little photography but it seems when it's not cloudy it's foggy.

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