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.
For those of you that weren’t able to view the early morning event, forgot about it, or maybe just didn’t care, I offer the attached composite image as seen from Gardnerville, Nevada. The lunar eclipse started around 11:48 UTC (03:48 PST) and the moon was completely within the earth’s shadow about an hour later. We had partly cloudy skies with varying levels of cirrus over the Carson Valley. The moon was approximately 36 degree above the western horizon at the start and set before coming completely out of the earth’s shadow. For those interested in the specifics of the captured images; each of the three images in the composite were taken with a Canon EOS 80D with a Tamron 150-600 mm G2 zoom at 600mm (APS-C sensor – 1.6 crop factor – 960mm equivalent focal length). Exposures for each of the images are: 1/500 sec. (left image), 1.6 sec. (middle image) and 4 sec. (right image) at f/6.3. The camera and lens system were mounted on an EQ mount for the last images due to the necessary length of exposure.
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!
Team members can check out local sky predictions on our Sky Conditions Page.
Good luck tonight!!!
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!
This was a makeshift, anti-frost measure …
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.
Good luck to all of our RECON Teams on two occultation opportunities this month:
- 2017 November 13, 03:56UT – Main Belt Asteroid (216) Kleopatra (OPTIONAL)
- 2017 November 19, 09:02UT – Centaur 01SQ73 (Full network campaign)
Also, on Saturday morning, November 11 around 17UT, the waning crescent moon will occult the star Regulus. This event will occur during daylight hours for the western US, but through a telescope, with binoculars, or even just naked eye, you should be able to see both the moon and Regulus before the occultation occurs. The prediction map below shows the path of the moon’s shadow. This map, along with predicted occultation time by major city, is also available at http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/bstar/1111zc1487.htm.