Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Comet: C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE)

Cbet nr. 3921, issued on 2014, July 13, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 17) by the  Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE satellite) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, July 04.5. The new comet has been designated C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, July 09.6 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: coma about 15" in diameter elongated toward PA 200 (the comet was about +21 degree above the horizon at the moment of the imaging session).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)


M.P.E.C. 2014-N72 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2014 N3: T 2015 Mar. 15.67; e= 1.0; Peri. = 354.49; q = 3.84;  Incl.= 61.73

UPDATE - July 15, 2014

In the image below you can see comet C/2014 N3 on the infrared discovery frame taken by NEOWISE and (on the right) a follow-up image taken by J. Masiero through the 8 meter GEMINI telescope in Chile. (More info on the caption. Click on the image for a bigger version).

Credit: A. Mainzer

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Close Approach of PHA Asteroid 2014 MF6

The asteroid 2014 MF6 was discovered (at magnitude ~17.0) on 2014, June 23.3 by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703) with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD.

According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 MF6 is an Apollo type asteroid. This class of asteroids are defined by having semi-major axes greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU) but perihelion distances less than the Earth's aphelion distance (q < 1.017 AU). It is also flagged as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid". PHA are asteroids larger than approximately 100m that might have threatening close approaches to the Earth (they can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU).

2014 MF6 has an estimated size of 190 m - 420 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=20.7) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 9.1 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0233 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 1939 UT on 2014, July 09. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude ~15.3 on the period from 06 to 09 July 2014.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, July 09.4, remotely from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring, AU) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer). Below you can see our image taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~15.3 and moving at ~ 40.43 "/min.  Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed).


Below you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2014 MF6 (three consecutive 60-second exposure). Click here or on the thumbnail below to see the animation (East is up, North is to the right):

Close Approach of asteroid 2014 MF6 photo 2014_MF6_09_July_2014_zpsb8d70b94.gif


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Comet: P/2014 L2 (NEOWISE)

Cbet nr. 3901, issued on 2014, June 15, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 16.5) by the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, June 07.4. The new comet has been designated P/2014 L2 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 12 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, June 15.4 from H06 (iTelescope network, New Mexico) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet with a tail nearly 15" long in PA 250 with coma about 8" in diameter.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)


M.P.E.C. 2014-L61 assigns the following preliminary elliptical orbital elements to comet P/2014 L2: T 2014 Aug. 4.59; e= 0.43; Peri. = 190.6; q = 2.11;  Incl.= 5.20

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Monday, June 9, 2014

Update on comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS)

C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) is a comet discovered on 17 May 2012 (see CBET circular 3112 & MPEC 2012-K36) in two r-band 40-s exposures taken with the 1.8-m Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at Haleakala (MPC code F51). 

The comet is currently at visual magnitude ~ 8.5 and it will reach the perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 27 August 2014 at a distance of 1.05 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) from the Sun. Comet C/2012 K1 is expected to brighten up to mag ~6-7 in mid-October 2014 (with an elongation of about 75-80 degree from the Sun). Below you can see the light curve (click on it for a bigger version).

Credit: Seiichi Yoshida

While below you can find our most recent image of this comet obtained on 03 June 2014 through the 2-meter Liverpool Telescope. Click on the image for a bigger version. 




by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Saturday, May 24, 2014

PHA Asteroid 2014 KP4

The MPEC 2014-K35 issued on May 23, 2014 announced the discovery of a new PHA asteroid officially designated 2014 KP4. This asteroid (~ magnitude 16) was discovered by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel & J. Barros through a 0.20-m f/2.2 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD telescope of SONEAR Observatory (MPC code Y00), on images obtained on May 20.2, 2014.

According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 KP4 is an Apollo type asteroid. This class of asteroids are defined by having semi-major axes greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU) but perihelion distances less than the Earth's aphelion distance (q < 1.017 AU). It is also flagged as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid". PHA are asteroids larger than approximately 100m that might have threatening close approaches to the Earth (they can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU).

2014 KP4 had a close approach with Earth on May 11, 2014 at rougly 26.2 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0673 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers).

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, May 20.6, remotely from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer. Below you can see an animation showing the fast movement (the object was moving at 6.5 "/min) of 2014 KP4 on the the sky on May 20, 2014. Each frame is a single 15-second exposure. Click on the thumbnail below to see the animation (East is up, North is to the right):

Asteroid 2014 KP4 - Animation 20 May 2014 photo ezgif-save_zps6493d724.gif


Below you can see the discovery images of 2014 KP4 by SONEAR survey. 

Credit: SONEAR Observatory


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Saturday, May 17, 2014

New Comet: C/2014 J1 (CATALINA)

Cbet nr. 3868, issued on 2014, May 16, announces the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (~ magnitude 18.2) on CCD images taken on 2014, May 09.3 by R. J. Sanders with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. This object has been found to show cometary appearance by observers elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2014 J1 (CATALINA).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 50 unfiltered exposures, 15-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, May 16.4 from Q62 (iTelescope network, Siding Spring) through a 0.70-m f/6.6 CDK astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is slightly diffused. The FWHM of this object was measured about 20% wider than that of nearby field stars of similar brightness (at the moment of our imaging session the Moon - 0.98 phase - was just about 40 degree away from the comet).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)


M.P.E.C. 2014-K04 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2014 J1: T 2014 June 13.44; e= 1.0; Peri. = 191.98; q = 1.74;  Incl.= 160.18

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Close Approach of Asteroid 2014 JR24

The asteroid 2014 JR24 was discovered (at magnitude ~17.2) on 2014, May 06.3 by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703) with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD. 

2014 JR24 has an estimated size of 3.7 m - 8.2 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=29.3) and it had a close approach with Earth at about 0.3 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0007 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 1045 UT on 2014, May 07. This asteroid reached the peak magnitude ~15.6 on May 07, 2014.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, May 07.3, remotely from the H06 iTelescope network (New Mexico) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD. Below you can see our image taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~15.7 and moving at ~466.77 "/min. At the moment of its close approach at 1045 UT, 2014 JR24 was moving at ~526 "/min. Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed).


Below you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2014 JR24 (two consecutive 60-second exposure). Click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version:

Asteroid 2014 JR24 Animation - 07 May 2014 photo 2014JR24_animation_07_may_2014_zpsc049c42e.gif

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini