Lunar Eclipse April 14

For those of you that might not have stayed up last Monday night or missed the coverage on TV, here are four images of the lunar eclipse as seen from Gardnerville. There were a few high clouds passing over the area during the event, but I managed to capture images during the better seeing periods. These are all captured with a 500mm mirror lens and a Nikon DSLR on a fixed tripod. The APS size sensor gives an equivalent focal length of approx. 750mm.

Eclipse_Composite_Times copy

(56) Melete occults 2UCAC 35905485 as recorded in Gardnerville, NV

On December 13, 2013 at 10:26:26 (UT) asteroid (56) Melete occulted star 2UCAC 35905485 in the constellation Monoceros and was video recorded from my location in Gardnerville, NV. According to Wikipedia, Melete is a large and dark main belt asteroid. It is a rather unusual P-type asteroid, probably composed of organic rich silicates, carbon and anhydrous silicates, with possible internal water ice. It has a diameter of 134 km and a visual magnitude of 13.0. Melete was discovered by Hermann Goldschmidt from his balcony in Paris, on September 9, 1857. It’s orbit was computed by E. Schubert, who named it after Melete, the Muse of meditation in Greek mythology.

The occulted target star, for the event, is magnitude 13.1, and located on the northern edge of Monoceros. The predicted magnitude drop for the event was 0.7 with a maximum duration of 9.6 seconds.

At the predicted event time of 02:26 hrs (local) the skies were clear, temperature was 18 deg F and there was no wind. Final analysis of the recorded event, from my location, indicated a occultation duration of 8.782 (+/-) 0.107 seconds, and a “D” (Disappearance) time of 10:26:26.0136 (UT), (+/-) 0.053 seconds. The “D” time was approximately 2 seconds earlier than the predicted.

Below is the light curve for the event as generated by LiMovie and Excel.

Melete _Occult_LC

(418) Alemannia occults 2UCAC 33330361

The two images are annotated snippets of the star field from a recent attempt to record the occultation of 2UCAC 33330361 by the asteroid (418) Alemannia , from my location in Gardnerville, NV. The star 2UCAC 33330361 is 12.5 magnitude and located in Pisces. The asteroid (418) Alemannia is approximately 40km in diameter with a visual magnitude of approx. 14. The occultation event was predicted for Sunday, December 1st at 05:53:14 (UT) +/- 7 seconds. My location was about 40 km south of the predicted shadow center-line, and just outside the predicted shadow. The snippets are recorded at a sense-up of X64, at approximately 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after the predicted occultation. The actual occultation recording was made at X8 to improve timing accuracy. Magnitude drop was predicted to be 1.9 to 2.2 mag.
The path of the asteroid is from right to left in the images. Alemannia, at mag 14, can clearly be seen in the images as it approaches the predicted target star. Both the star and asteroid are also represented in the adjacent light intensity graphs from LiMovie.
Although the visual path of the asteroid appears to be directly toward, and away, from the target star in these images, an occultation event was NOT recorded from my location. James Bean recorded the same event in Carson City, and was within the predicted shadow. He also, did NOT observe an occultation.