Possible Extrasolar Object

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Possible Extrasolar Object

Postby longhaircowboy » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:14 pm

Last Night(Sunday 1/11/09) at about 9:30 pm I was outside with my telescope observing the moon(mag.12.6) at perigee and an object just to the NE of it labeled M44(mag. 3.1) which is in the constellation Cancer and I noticed a faint dot of light just under it that appeared to have some movement. The movement was very slight but still perceptable. At those distances things don't move with jarring speed. I made note of the location and kept an eye on it throughout ther nite. I eventually lost it in the light of Pollux(mag. 5) in the constellation Gemini. The arc between M44 and Pollux means the object was at an extreme distance. I'm still working out the figures on distance and possible speed with a friend in the local Astonomy Society. I have also notified the local science center who conduct regular telescope events. I won't be able to do any viewing tonight as it's overcast here and not expected to clear. However if it does I will definitely be out. If anyone here has use of a telescope I would appreciate any assistance with different triangulations.

kl
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Re: Possible Extrasolar Object

Postby Krishna » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:47 pm

longhaircowboy wrote:The arc between M44 and Pollux means the object was at an extreme distance.
kl


I have to draw an objection to this. (As an Amateur Astronomer myself).
It's a faulty conclusion as you cannot estimate distance from an objects motion alone, you also need to factor in surface brightness (luminosity) relating to mass/composition, redshift/blueshift (to calculate whether there is motion towards/away from the observer) etc.

Check the following animated gif of two NEO's imaged by an observatory, whilst both are intra-solar, great differences between the motion of the two can be seen. (The image was taken over several hours):
http://www.observatorij.org/News/Pictures/49A0112_anim.gif

You still deserve some congratulations though, as my opinion is that you probably observed an extremely hard to view intra-solar object such as an NEO (Near Earth Object) or one of slightly more distance, (But still Intra-Solar).

Checking out the skychart a high contender would be asteroid (40) Harmonia or (27) Euterpe, especially Harmonia, which was very close to the stated positions on Sunday night.

A useful set of tools for helping with identification can be found at:
http://asteroid.lowell.edu/ (Especially the Epherimis calculator)

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Re: Possible Extrasolar Object

Postby Krishna » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:57 pm

I should add, I'll take my scope out tonight for a look, if the clouds clear, I've not had one clear night all winter so far. :(

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Re: Possible Extrasolar Object

Postby longhaircowboy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:20 pm

Yes it indeed looks as if it is an asteroid. I too have been going over some star charts and a friend of mine had suggested the extra-solar bit so I was looking in that direction. This was based on the faint magnitude and apparent rapid movement. But hey it's still a ufo at this point. I haven't had any good viewing nights since Sunday except last night but I couldn't locate anything like it. And keep in mind I'm in west central Florida. Not sure if that would affect your view. I'm thinkin it was Harmonia. BTW thanks for the help I use HNSKY which has a downloadable asteroid update.
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