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The following photographs are of the Asteroid Vesta.

[picture of Vesta]

Vesta, Jun 11/12, 1996

This photo is a composit of two photos, taken on successive nights. The negatives were sandwiched together to show the changing position of Vesta. The two bright stars in the center are Vesta and it shows a motion of about 10 arc minutes in 24 hrs.

North is up

The photos were taken through the 10" Newt at prime focus on TMax 400 film, developed for 6 min in Tmax developer.


The first picture was taken during hazy conditions so one image is a bit brighter than the other. I also had a meridian crossing on the second which put a small glitch on the second image. It should also be noted that I have no simple way of registering two negatives very precisely so there is some image mush resulting from mis-registration.

The objective of the project was to gain experience in identifying objects that can only be identified by changes in position relative to background stars. Vesta is fairly easy as it is brighter than the background stars and there is little doubt about its identification without photography. Drawings made on previous nights confirmed the motion and the photos simply document it.

Having accomplished this, the next goal is to do the same with Pluto. As Pluto is at the limit of visibility in a 10" telescope, it presents a far greater challenge. High resolution charts and accurate setting circles are a must. There is a finder chart in the April issue of S&T and it will be favoribly placee during opposition this Summer. I would like to hear from anyone who has found or photographed Pluto.

If you have not seen Vesta, the finder chart is in the April issue of S&T. It is easy to find with binos but not even close to naked eye for me. It appears orange to me and is the brightest object in a field of 10 degrees or more.


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