Feb. 9th – Successfully Observing Both (191) Kolga AND (154) Bertha

On February 3rd the RECON projects leads announced an optional observing event for asteroid (191) Kolga for the evening of Feb. 9th.  The specifics of this event was also noted on Occult Watcher (OW) which provided many of the event details, like potential observing station information, path maps, data on the occulting asteroid and target star, etc. What many may not know, is that on the evening of Feb 9th, another event involving asteroid (154) Bertha was also predicted to occur approx. 17 minutes later then Kolga, over much of northern California and northern Nevada.  The prediction paths for these two events crossed some 40-50 km northeast of Reno, Nevada.  For my typical observing station in Gardnerville Nevada, I was NOT in the predicted path of either of these events, (although inside 1 sigma for the Bertha event).  After some evaluation of the events and the possibility of observing positives for both, I decided to “go mobile” with an 8” SCT and attempt observing both events from a location near Lahonton State Recreation Area, which is northeast of Carson City (approx. 56 km).  For this location OW predicted that I had a 78% positive observing probability for Kolga and a 98% probability for Bertha.  The LiMovie generated light curves for these observations are below.

As can be seen, I was fortunate enough to record occultation events for both Kolga and Bertha.  For Kolga the duration was 5.74 seconds and for Bertha 5.34 seconds.  It is a rare opportunity that two events are predicted for the same evening so close in time and so close together, location wise.  For me, it was even more surprising that, none of other potential obstacles to making these observations (travel, weather, setup, etc.), got in the way of a successful evening.

Clear skies over most of RECON

This evening, Friday December 8, RECON is holding an optional campaign to record TNO 07TH422 starting around 5:10UT (9:10PM Pacific / 10:10PM Mountain).

Apart from a system up in Washington, sky conditions are looking excellent for all sites south of the Dalles!

Sky forecast of 2017 December 9 at 5UT (from Clear Sky Clock)

Team members can check out local sky predictions on our Sky Conditions Page.

Good luck tonight!!!

RECON feature in Air & Space Magazine

We are happy to announce that RECON was featured in Air & Space Magazine!

Former RECON student assistant Jeralyn Gibbs and current student at Central Washington University shared their perspective as participants in the RECON project. The article also explores the start of the RECON project and how it has expanded to include over 55+ sites led by citizen scientists.

Check out the article here and let us know what you think!

RECON set for first 2017-18 occultation tonight!

The RECON Project will be conducting the first TNO occultation campaign for the 2017-18 school year this evening.  Centaur 01SQ73 will be occulting a magnitude 11.2 star on November 19 at 09:02 UT.  For RECON teams, most will start recording 08:49 UT (that’s 12:49AM PST / 1:49AM MST this Sunday morning, November 19).  You can check out the Event Detail Page for 01SQ73 for local recording windows.

Weather across the network is not perfect but much better than many of last year’s events!  Team members can check out local sky forecasts on our Sky Conditions Page. Because the target star is reasonably bright, team members can also increase sense-up to get a better signal through partial clouds if needed.

Good luck to all of our RECON teams tonight.

Clear Sky Clock forecast map for 2017/11/19 at 9UT


RECON Campaign involving Chiron!

Happy Fourth of July, RECON!!!

We wanted to provide a heads up about an exciting opportunity to measure Chiron, a 100-km Centaur with suspected ring structure(s)!  We will have an event page up shortly, but the map below provided by LESIA at L’Observatoire de Paris shows that the probabilities of successfully recording this object are high and that the extended RECON network down to Arizona is well positioned to map any extended structures associated with the main body!

Prediction map for occultation by Centaur Chiron on 2017 August 15 UT

The event will occur early on the morning of Tuesday, August 15 around 11:51 UT (4:51AM PDT/MST). Twilight will be approaching during the occultation, but there should be plenty of time to get onto the field prior to this. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for details!