Alerts for Main Belt Asteroid Events in January 2016

Why These Alerts

By way of introduction, my name is Tony George.  I am a RECON collaborator.  In the winter I observe from Scottsdale, AZ, and in the summer I observe from Umatilla, OR.  I have been a member of IOTA (International Occultation Timing Association) for more than 25 years.  In the last 10 years or so, I have helped IOTA to coordinate focused observing campaigns in the Pacific Northwest and more recently, when spending winters in Scottsdale, in the Southwest.  What I have done is find promising main belt asteroid events with high certainty that pass over known IOTA observers and send out alerts to these observers so they may coordinate their efforts and get multiple positive observations of the asteroid.  Because RECON teams are spread uniformly across the Pacific Northwest and Southwest, many team sites are also near IOTA member sites, and it makes sense to solicit RECON participation in these events when this occurs.  This Blog is my first attempt at preparing advance alerts for main belt asteroid events that may be of interest to select RECON teams where the path crosses their specific observing locations.

Alerts are Not Mandatory

First and foremost, these alerts are not part of the RECON campaign.  I have permission to send out these alerts, but they are not mandatory.  Should any individual or team in RECON chose to observe these events, it is entirely voluntary.  Observing these events will contribute to understanding the main belt asteroids, but it will also provide opportunities for RECON teams to practice their skills and keep interest in observing occultations.  Nothing inspires an occultation astronomer more than seeing a star on the video screen wink out as predicted and then suddenly reappear.  In my past occupation as an astronomy instructor, many of my classes were elated when they could watch an occultation on-screen in real time.  I still am excited each time I see an occultation occur in real time.

Format of Alerts

So, now for the alerts occurring in the remainder of January.  Each alert is listed below.  For each alert, the RECON observing teams targeted for observing the event are listed.  If your team is not mentioned then there is no need to respond to the alert.

For each alert, the following information is listed:

  1. Asteroid (number) and name
  2. Catalog number of star occulted
  3. m = combined magnitude of star and asteroid occulted (this will help to establish the sense-up to use for each event)
  4. altitude @ azimuth of the target star at occultation time
  5. Universal Date and Time of event (may be a day later than calendar Date shown in each title listing)
  6. maximum duration of event in seconds (if you see an event, it will likely be shorter than this)
  7. predicted magnitude drop of event (values < 1 may be difficult to see ‘on-screen’ and may require post-video processing to be detected; values between 1-2 will be visible as a dimming on-screen but the star will not disappear; and values >3 will likely be easy to see as a total disappearance of the star)

A recommended observing time is provided for each alert.

A path map is shown for each alert.

Teams or individuals who plan to participate in the event can send me an email directly at and I can communicate directly with team members to provide guidance on camera settings, finder charts, recording times and where to post your videos.  In special cases, if there is enough interest, I might post a specific blog highlighting a specific event.

(393) Lampetia January 21

RECON Teams: Indian Springs, Henderson, Searchlight/Boulder City, Kingman/Dolan Springs, Laughlin/Bullhead City, Mohave Valley, Lake Havasu, Parker

(393) Lampetia occults 4UC 479-013479; m= 13.0 (combined); 40° @113°; 22 Jan; 02:11:45 UT; 11 sec; drop: 0.9 [Note: this is a low mag drop and may not be visible on screen — all videos should be submitted]

Observation Time:  02:11-02:13 UT

(866) Fatme

RECON Teams: Fall River/Burney, Susanville, Greenville, Quincy, Portola

(866) Fatme occults TYC 1904-00739-1; m= 9.5 (combined); 53° @89°; 24 Jan; 03:35:12 UT; 7 sec; drop: 4.7

Observation Time:  03:34:30-03:37:00 UT

(791) Ani

RECON Teams:   Laughlin/Bullhead City, Kingman/Dolan Springs, Searchlight/Boulder City, Henderson, Indian Springs, Beaty, Lone Pine, Bishop

(791) Ani occults UCAC4-515-020156; m= 11.3 (combined); 44° @105°; 30 Jan; 01:57:08 UT; 9 sec; drop: 3.4

Observation Time:  01:56:30-01:58:30 [Note: event at end of twilight may be hard to find until just before event time]

(795) Fini

RECON Teams:  Madras/Culver, Sisters, Redmond, Bend, Oregon Observatory 

(795) Fini Occultation of 2UCAC 42354740 on Feb 2 8:21 PST 9:21 MST (03 Feb; 04:21:39 UT)(795) Fini occults ; m= 12.0 (combined); 47° @279°; ; 6 sec; drop: 3.5

Observation Time:  04:19:30-04:21:30