2014 March 3 UT – 2001 XR254


Kuiper Belt Object 2001 XR254 will occult 2UCAC 38965868 on 2014 March 3 from 09:05 – 09:20 UT (Monday, March 3, 1:05-1:20 AM Pacific Standard Time).  The star has a reported magnitude of 14.0.  The star’s position is RA: 07:45:33.8  DEC: +20:04:45, J2000. The moon is nearly new and will not be up.  Use a sense up setting of x128 for this event.

This event represents our second attempt at an actual Kuiper Belt Object (Pluto was our first KBO target last May). There are high uncertainties in the orbital track of this roughly 200km object, but this will be the case for several of our KBO attempts. Another challenge with the event are that the target star is fainter than we have gone before (magnitude 14). The entire network is within 1-sigma of the predicted path, so if we are successful in detecting this object, it would a huge success for the project.

The chart below shows the predicted path of 2001 XR254 .

Predicted path of 2001 XR254

Predicted path of 2001 XR254

IMPORTANT CHECK MALLINCAM SETTINGS: Prior to this event, be sure to check that your camera settings match those describe on the Camera Page. See also a post that Marc provided over the holidays regarding Camera Performance for ways NOT to set your camera. Also, be sure to charge batteries for the telescope and for any other devices several days in advance of the event.

Because it takes the Mallincam time to stabilize after changing sense-up settings, we would would like those observing to be on the field and change the sense-up time to x128 by 09:00 UT (01:00 AM PST), 5 minutes before starting to record the event.  This will give the camera time to stabilize before recording data. RECON sites should start recording at 09:05 UT (01:05 AM PST) and capture three 5-minute video segments up until 09:20 UT (01:20 AM PST).  That is, teams should capture video from 1:05-1:10AM, 1:10-1:15AM, and 1:15-1:20AM.  

Thank you for keeping track of your observations using the RECON Observation Logsheet.

Finder Charts (courtesy of Steve Preston and Guide)

For finder charts and a predicted ground-track of this event, visit Asteroid Occultation Updates.

Finder chart for 2001 XR254 (using AAVSO Variable Star Plotter)

Finder chart for 2001 XR254 (using AAVSO Variable Star Plotter)


Star Hop List

Name          RA          Dec    mag dist
Pollux     07:45:18.3 +28:01:34  1.1 7.95
85 Gem     07:55:39.9 +19:53:01  5.4 2.38
PPM 097904 07:44:14.0 +20:12:04  7.6 0.34
PPM 124406 07:45:39.5 +19:55:35 10.8 0.15
2001XR254  07:45:33.8 +20:04:45 14.0

Images of Star Field

Below is a very nice annotated starfield image taken by Jerry Bardecker in Garndernville.

Image of star field for 2001XR254 provided by Jerry Bardecker in Gardnerville

Image of star field for 2001XR254 provided by Jerry Bardecker in Gardnerville

And another nice image taken by Bill Gimple in Greenville.

Star field for 2001XR254 provided by Bill Gimple

Image of star field for 2001XR254 provided by Bill Gimple in Greenville

Uploading data

To upload your video files and observation logsheet, go to http://spikard.boulder.swri.edu/upload.html.

Preliminary Results

Following the event, please let us know how it went using the form below!  Thanks!!!  To view survey responses, view the Results Page here.