Steve Preston of IOTA has a list of the best occultation events for 2013. These events are chosen for bright stars and ground-tracks with small errors. In other words, these are the easiest events and worth special scrutiny for larger campaigns. However, these are not filtered by area and cover the entire globe. Of these events there is only one that is relevant to the RECON network and it happens before we’ll have all of the telescopes and cameras in everybody’s hands. However, there are some of you that will be able to look at this, either visually or with any cameras I can get out quickly enough.
The event is at 2013 Feb 11 06:48 UT. The actual time will differ by a minute or two depending on your location. This event is on Sunday night, Feb. 10 at 22:48 (10:48 pm). You can see more details about this event at Steve’s website. According to the prediction, our two most northern sites will likely be out of the shadow track but everyone else will be in the track. If this event were just a couple of months later we would make this one of our official campaigns. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right but I wanted to make sure everyone knew of the opportunity in case they want to do something. I will be happy to provide support and answer questions for anyone that needs help.
I’ll be observing from the south edge of Patientia’s shadow, as a member of IOTA, probably from just north of Woodland CA. My ‘home base’ is in Davis, but Steve Preston’s latest prediction (2 Feb?) put me JUST outside the path, and I’m thinking this is worth “going mobile” to more or less guarantee a positive to refine the southern edge. Let me know if you folks are mounting a campaign. In the OccultWatcher software, the latest station list looks like the coverage is mostly on the southern and midline parts of the shadow, with no coverage on the northern side. -Ted S
I want to get my occultation feet wet with Patientia. Are there guidelines to help me,an inexperienced observer with a manual and unmotorized 10″ scope, see this occultation?
Good question, Warren. I think your feet are already wet. Chasing this one down will get you more than a little wet. But that’s ok. First the good news, a 10″ scope is more than enough aperture to see this event. Now the bad news, it’s really hard to find and watch an event like this with an unmotorized telescope. For occultation science, a 10th magnitude star is booming bright. Compared to a planet, galaxy, or globular cluster, it’s not at all distinctive and finding it can be a big challenge. Keeping it in the eyepiece at the right time is also really tricky with no drive. On the other hand, if you pick up the star an hour or so before the event you will be able to see the asteroid coming. If you check again 10-15 minutes later you’ll easily see the asteroid move. This will let you know you’ve found it. This is the hard part, with an unmotorized telescope you’ll have to keep an eye on it almost constantly until the event. If you persevere you will be treated to the star winking out, just keep in mind that while the star goes away during the occultation, the asteroid does not. On the prediction you will find a prediction of the magnitude drop to expect.
This is a moot point for Patientia, but don’t forget the method of finding a prepoint star well before an event, and then letting The World’s Biggest Clock Drive (the Earth’s rotation) bring the target star to you. The events listed on Steve Preston’s and Derek Breit’s pages tend to have prepoint star listings. I’ve only tried it a few times, but there are usually some honking bright stars (mag ~5-6) useful in the hours before an event. It doubles as a test that the neighbor’s tree won’t be in the way at event time! Clear skies!