Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Comet C/2007 N3 (LULIN) Animation

Comet Lulin is moving closer to Earth. At closest approach (0.41 AU) on February 24th, the comet may be as bright as 4th magnitude becoming a naked eye object.

We imaged Comet Lulin on 16 January 2009 and on 17 January 2009 to show its motion on the background stars.

Here You can see the animation composed of 2 stacks of 5X120 seconds each, taken remotely from Mayhill (NM) through a 0.10 f/5 reflector + CCD:


Friday, January 9, 2009

COMET P/2008 X4 = P/2003 K2 (CHRISTENSEN)

IAUC nr. 9005, issued on 2008, December 12, announced the recovery of P/2003 K2 (CHRISTENSEN): A. Watson found a comet through the SECCHI HI1-B images on Dec. 8.2; at that time, the comet displayed a very faint, short tail; subsequently M. Meyer suggested its identity with comet P/2003 K2.

We observed this comet while it was emerging from the morning twilight, in Ophiucus. The observation has been performed remotely, through the GRAS scopes network, from Mayhill (NM) on 2009 Jan. 8.5 (details on image):


In our stacking the comets show a nice coma, elongated toward North-West, about 3 arcmin in diameter.

Image processing through an azimuthal median subtraction routine, show the presence of a fan-like feature in solar direction, about 2-arcmin long, likely originated by the activity of the nucleus facing our star:


by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri

2009 AU1

This interesting object has been discovered on 2009 Jan 03 by the Italian amateur Fabrizio Tozzi, remotely through the Sierra Stars 0.60-m reflector, and confirmed at first by himself, using other remotely controlled scopes of the "Skylive" network, located in Sicily and Australia.

The preliminary orbital elements available published on MPEC 2009-A48 (http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/mpec/K09/K09A48.html) report e~0.5, a~4.6 and Incl.~ 26 deg; this is a very comet-like orbit!

The object passed perihelion on July-August 2008, and at the moment of discovery it was located in Orion, at about magnitude 18.

We performed some follow-up of it while it was posted in the NEO-CP webpage; in our stacking (20 x 120 sec unfiltered exposures) we cannot distinguish any coma and/or tail, the FWHM of 2009 AU1 being very similar to that of the nearby field stars.

Our image is available here:

Anyway congratulations to Fabrizio for his interesting find.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri

Monday, January 5, 2009

C/2007 N3 Lulin - Update

Discovered on July 11 2007 at Lulin Observatory, C/2007 N3 will reach perihelion on January 10, 2009 and will pass 0.41 AU from Earth on 2009 February 24.

This comet is just emerging from solar glare and so it's better placed for viewing in the morning sky. The most recent visual magnitude estimate shows it at magnitude 7.5

According to predictions, Comet Lulin may be as bright as 4th magnitude in late February when in Virgo, rapidly becoming visible in the evening sky.

This comet is actually showing a nice sunward pointing dust tail (antitail) along with a ion tail.

Here You can see our photo taken on 02 January 2009 remotely from from Mayhill (NM) through a 0.25 f/3.4 reflector + CCD:


by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni sostero and Paul Camilleri

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Transneptunian Object 2004 XA192

Happy New Year and welcome to our first post of 2009!!!

The Mpec circular 2008-Y74 issued on 2008 Dec. 30, reports new observations of 2 Transneptunian Objects:

2004 XA192 and 2006 UO321

2004 XA192 has a period of 321 years and at present it's located at roughly 36 AU from the Sun. The mpec reported a magnitude for this object around 19 on 22 December 2008, a relatively bright value for a TNO and within reach of amateur telescopes.

We imaged this object on 31 December 2008 and on 01 January 2009 to show its slow motion on the background stars.

Here You can see the animation composed of 2 stacks of 30X120 seconds each, taken remotely from from Mayhill (NM) through a 0.25 f/3.4 reflector + CCD. We measured 2004 XA192 at magnitude 20.1R while the limiting magnitude of these images is around 21R:


2004 XA192 is the faint object just above the bright star in the centre of the image. Here you can see a particular:


by Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero


- The Solar System Beyond Neptune (The University of Arizona Press - 2008)