Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Close Approach of Asteroid 2013 XY8

M.P.E.C. 2013-X44, issued on 2013, December 08, reports the discovery of the asteroid 2013 XY8 (discovery magnitude 17.7) by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703 ) on images taken on December 07.1 with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD.

2013 XY8 has an estimated size of 31 m - 68 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=24.7) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 2 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0051 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 1117 UT on 2013, December 11. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude ~14.4 between December 10 & 11.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2013, December 10.6, remotely from the Faulkes Telescope South (MPC code E10), through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (Faulkes Telescope is operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network).

Below you can see our image taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~15 and moving at ~78.0 "/min. At the moment of the close approach 2013 XY8 will move at ~151"/min. Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed).


Below you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2013 XY8 (four consecutive 30-second exposure). Click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version:

Animation of Close Approach of Asteroid 2013 XY8 - 2013, December 10.6 photo animation_zps3b70bd1c.gif
 
by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Possible Bright Nova in Centaurus

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Cen (TOCP Designation: PNV J13544700-5909080) we performed some follow-up of this object remotely through the 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer of iTelescope network (MPC Code  Q62 - Siding Spring, AU).

On our images taken on December 03.68, 2013 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with unfiltered CCD magnitude  ~5.0 at coordinates:

R.A. = 13 54 45.22, Decl.= -59 09 04.5 (equinox 2000.0; UCAC-3 catalogue reference stars).

According to Vizier the nearest star (located at 1.538 arcsecond from the transient) to this position in the USNO-B1.0 catalogue is:

USNO-B1.0  0308-0442031   (J2000) 13 54 45.374 -59 09 03.52    mag. B2=15.52 R2 =15.12

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version):


Below an animation showing a comparison between our confirmation image and the archive POSS2/UKSTU plate (R Filter - 1999). Click here or on the thumbnail below for a bigger version. 

  photo 
pnv_cen_animation_T31_3_december_2013_zps83b608d2.gif


UPDATE - December 04, 2013

According to CBET No. 3732, PNV J13544700-5909080 is now NOVA CENTAURI 2013. This nova has been discovered by John Seach (Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia) in six CCD images obtained with a digital SLR camera (+ 50-mm-f.l. f/1.0 lens; limiting mag 11) taken on Dec. 2.692 UT. Low-resolution spectrograms reported independently by M. Locke and R. Kaufman show strong H_alpha and H_beta emission indicative of a nova.

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Asteroids named after Thomas Pynchon & Stabia

Since 2005, during my work on comets and asteroids, I discovered a number of asteroids. Recently I submitted name proposals for a couple of my discoveries. Names for minor planets are proposed by the discoverer of a specific object after the object is numbered. Proposals are accompanied by a brief citation explaining the reasons for the naming (see here for more info about the procedure).

Suggested names were submitted to Minor Planet Center and approved by the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) of the IAU (International Astronomical Union).

The Minor Planet Circular MPC 85415- 85916 issued on November 20, 2013 announces that asteroid 152319 (2005 UH7) is now officially named "Pynchon" and the asteroid 152481 (2005 WY57) is now officially named "Stabia". I choosed asteroid "Pynchon" to honor great American novelist Thomas Pynchon known almost exclusively through his writing, dense and complex. While asteroid "Stabia" honors the city of Castellammare di Stabia in Italy where I was born.

The official citations for the asteroids read:

(152319) Pynchon = 2005 UH7
Discovered 2005 Oct. 29 by E. Guido at Mayhill.
Thomas R. Pynchon, Jr. (b. 1937) is an American novelist. He was the winner of the 1974 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction for his most celebrated novel, Gravity’s Rainbow.


(152481) Stabia = 2005 WY57
Discovered 2005 Nov. 30 by E. Guido at Mayhill.
Castellammare di Stabia is a city in southern Italy. The city is located close to the ancient Roman town of Stabiae, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Asteroid "Pynchon" resides in the Main Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, of the Solar System; with an estimated size about 2 km - 4 km, it takes 4.10 years to complete a revolution around the Sun.

Asteroid "Stabia" resides in the Main Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, of the Solar System; with an estimated size about 3 km - 6 km, it takes 5.55 years to complete a revolution around the Sun.

On the JPL website you can find a 3D orbit visualization tool for (152319) Pynchon and for (152481) Stabia.

Click on the image below to see a snippet from MPC 85415- 85916.
 

 Click on the images below to see the orbit of asteroids "Pynchon" and "Stabia"

Credit: JPL Small-Body Database

Credit: JPL Small-Body Database


by Ernesto Guido

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN)

Cbet nr. 3713, issued on 2013, November 15, announces the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude ~19.4) by Michel Ory on CCD images obtained with a 0.5-m f/3 reflector at the Oukaimeden Observatory, Marrakech. The object has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 58 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope, Siding Spring) on 2013, November 12.6 through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 10" in diameter elongated toward PA 300.

Below our confirmation image. Click here for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V95 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V5: T 2014 Sept. 27.93; e= 1.0; Peri. = 314.39; q = 0.62;  Incl.= 154.92

According to the preliminary ephemeris, comet C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN) could reach magnitude ~5.5 in mid-September 2014. Below you can see a graph generated using the software Orbitas and showing the predicted magnitude (in red) versus the elongation (click on the image for a bigger version). A word of caution: as always with comets, the future magnitudes reported here are only indicative.  


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V3 (NEVSKI)

Cbet nr. 3695, issued on 2013, November 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~15.1) by Vitali Nevski on four 180-s CCD exposures obtained on Nov. 7 with a 0.2-m f/1.5 reflector (and confirmed with images taken using a 0.4-m f/3 reflector) at the ISON-Kislovodsk observatory near Kislovodsk, Russia. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V3 (NEVSKI).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 19 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico) on 2013, November 07.3 through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 18" in diameter elongated toward PA 275 deg.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V45 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V3: T 2013 Oct. 23.58; e= 1.0; Peri. = 332.77; q = 1.34;  Incl.= 29.44

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

New Comet: C/2013 V2 (BORISOV)

Cbet nr. 3694, issued on 2013, November 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~16.9) by G. Borisov on three CCD images taken with a 0.2-m f/1.5 astrograph on Nov. 6. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V2 (BORISOV).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 12 unfiltered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico) on 2013, November 06.3 through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 15" in diameter.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V43 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V2: T 2014 Oct. 6.00; e= 1.0; Peri. = 87.46; q = 3.80;  Incl.= 39.27


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

The Multi-Tailed Main-Belt Comet P/2013 P5

Cbet nr. 3639, issued on 2013, August 27, announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~20.9) in CCD exposures obtained on August 15 by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala. The new comet has been designated P/2013 P5 (PANSTARRS). According to the description in the CBET, the object has a nuclear condensation with a stellar appearance and a thin tail that extends for approximately 30" towards position angle approximately 255 degrees.

Orbiting at the inner edge of the main asteroid belt, with semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination of 2.189 AU, 0.115 and 5.0° , respectively, the Tisserand parameter relative to Jupiter is TJ = 3.66. So this object belongs to the newly recognized class of body in the solar system known as active asteroids or  main-belt comet - MBC. These objects are remarkable for having both the orbital characteristics of asteroids and the physical characteristics of comets: they look like comets because they show comae and tails but they have orbits interior to Jupiter's and Tisserand parameters substantially larger than 3, like asteroids. While some are suspected to contain water ice whose sublimation is responsible for the expulsion of dust, others are impact-produced while, for a majority, the origin is unknown. (see also our previous post about P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) & 596 Scheila).

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have imaged P/2013 P5 on UT 2013 Sep 10 and 23, obtaining a total of 12 images with the WFC3 camera.  It has no less than six dust tails that seem to be forming sequentially. 

As an inner-belt asteroid and probable Flora family member, the object is likely to be highly metamorphosed and unlikely to contain ice. The protracted period of dust release appears inconsistent with an impact origin, but may be compatible with a body that is losing mass through a rotational instability. We suggest that P/2013 P5 has been accelerated to breakup speed by radiation torques.

You can read the full Hubble release here or the paper based on these observations here on Arxiv. Below you can see the Hubble images (click on it for a bigger version).

Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

While below there is a summary of the main properties of active asteroid P/2013 P5 as outlined in the paper by Jewitt et al.


We performed follow-up measurements of this object on November 07. Stacking of 16 R-filtered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code E10 (Faulkes Telescope South) on 2013, November 07.4 through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network), shows a thin tail 25" long in PA 75 (magnitude ~21).

Below our follow-up image of P/2013 P5. Click on it for a bigger version.



by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V1 (BOATTINI)

Cbet nr. 3689, issued on 2013, November 06, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~15.6) by A. Boattini on CCD images obtained with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V1 (BOATTINI).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 3 R-filtered exposures, 20-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope Observatory, Siding Spring) on 2013, November 05.75 through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 18" in diameter.

We imaged again this object on 2013, November 06.35 remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope Observatory, New Mexico) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer. The comet is showing a nice curved tail ~1' long in p.a. 240 deg.

Below our image of November 06. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V32 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V1: T 2014 Apr. 8.42; e= 1.0; Peri. = 50.83; q = 1.50;  Incl.= 62.39

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Comet: P/2013 T2 (SCHWARTZ)

Cbet nr. 3676, issued on 2013, October 22, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~18.8) by M. Schwartz on CCD images obtained with the 0.41-m f/3.75 Tenagra III astrograph. The new comet has been designated P/2013 T2 (SCHWARTZ).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 16 R-filtered exposures, 50-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code F65 (Faulkes Telescope North) on 2013, October 16.4 through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network), shows that this object is a comet: sharp central condensation surrounded by a coma about 6" in diameter.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-U18 (including prediscovery Catalina Sky Survey data from Sept. 14.4 UT, when the magnitude was given as 17.8-18.6) assigns the following elliptical orbital elements to comet P/2013 T2: T 2013 June 20.65; e= 0.53; Peri. = 342.52; q = 1.60;  Incl.= 9.36

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Monday, October 21, 2013

Outburst of comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR)

Cbet No. 3674, issued on 2013 October 21, reports an outburst in brightness of comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR). The magnitude of the comet was measured by  H. Sato on on Oct. 20.5 to be total mag 8.5 (as measured within a circular aperture of diameter 85".2) with a brighter center about 10" across.  The predicted H_10 magnitude for C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) would be around 14 now.

We performed follow-up measurements of this object on 2013 October 21.51.  Below you can see our image of this comet, stacking of 3x20-seconds unfiltered exposures, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope Observatory, New Mexico) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer. At the moment of the imaging session, the comet was just +16 degree above the horizon and the Sun was -11 degree. Click on it for a bigger version.


The comet shows a morphology similar to the outburst of comet 17P/Holmes in 2007: the C/2012 X1 disk-like coma diameter is about 105" and the sharp central condensation is ~15" across with magnitude ~11.

Below you can see an elaboration of the original image with the MCM filter. This filter creates an artificial coma, based on the photometry of the original image, and subtract the original image itself in order to highlight the internal zones of different brightness that are very close to the inner core and that would normally be hidden from the diffuse glow of the comet.






Below you can see the magnitude graph of C/2012 X1 (click on the image for a bigger version).

Credit: S. Yoshida

UPDATE - October 28, 2013

Using our C/2012 X1 images of October 21 + the C/2012 X1 images of October 25 (kindly provided by Gianluca Masi) we calculated the dust shell expansion rate and compared it to that of 17P/Holmes during the 2007 outburst.



The coma diameter increases from 113 arcsec to 202 arsec in about 88 hours (3.66 days). This corresponds to a projected radial speed of 1.01 arcsec/hour ( or 24.3 arsec/day) and, at the distance of 2.95 AU, to a speed of about 0.6 km/s. We can compare this speed with that of 17P/Holmes during its 2007 outburst where the expansion rate of the dust shell, also projected on the plane of the sky, has been found to be constant at a rate of approximately 0.554 +/- 0.005 km/s from October 25.8 to November 1.6 (Yi Lin et al., The Astronomical Journal 138 (2009) 625).

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martino Nicolini

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Juno Spacecraft Flyby

Juno is a NASA New Frontiers mission to the planet Jupiter. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011. The spacecraft is to be placed on July 2016 in a polar orbit to study the Jupiter's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

On October 9 2013, the interplanetary probe Juno flew past the Earth on its way to Jupiter to receive a "gravity assist" and be put on a trajectory to reach Jupiter in 2016. Time of closest approach with Earth (in shadow) was 19:21UT of October 09, at an altitude of only 559 km over the southern tip of Africa. Then it left the eclipse at 19:39 UT and was visible from Europe and Asia (see graphs below).

Credit: Heavens-Above
Credit: Heavens-Above

We performed follow-up measurements of Juno on October 09.9, 2013. The spacecraft was then of at ~125,000 km from our planet, magnitude ~14 and moving at ~80"/min.

Below you can see our image of Juno, single 120-sec unfiltered exposure, obtained remotely from MPC code I89 (iTelescope Observatory, Nerpio, Spain) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 reflector + CCD. The spacecraft is trailed in the image due to its fast speed. Click on it for a bigger version.


A Pseudo-Mpec, using our follow-up observations and that of other observers, has been made by Bill Gray using his software Findorb. (the nominal orbit now impacts Jupiter... but with a large enough sigma that this seems rather unlikely. Especially assuming there will be a terminal correction maneuver or two, giving it an orbit that just barely skims over the north or south pole).


UPDATE - October 11, 2013

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft returns 1st Flyby images of Earth, taken at 19:06UT of October 09, 2013 while it was flying over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean. Click on the image for a bigger version.


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martino Nicolini

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) - Update 2013, Oct. 2

We obtained further follow-up on C/2012 S1 (ISON) on 2013, Oct. 1.2, through the 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD + SDSS r' Filter of Liverpool Telescope (MPC code J13).

Stacking of 20 exposures, 11-seconds each, produced an image where is visible a well developed coma and tail measuring at least 3 arcmin extended toward PA  297 deg. Click on the image for a bigger version.


Below another elaboration of the same stacking. Click on it for a bigger version.


Just out of curiosity, in this ISON field there are 2 known asteroids (31176) 1997 XL9 (magnitude ~18)  & (11293) 1991 XL (magnitude ~18.5). We have highlighted here the position of the asteroids:



In the image below you can see 3 different elaborations of the ISON inner coma. The first panel on the left is a Larson-Sekanina filter.  In the middle panel elaboration with the MCM filter creates an artificial coma, based on the photometry of the original image, and subtract the original image itself in order to highlight the internal zones of different brightness that are very close to the inner core and that would normally be hidden from the diffuse glow of the comet. While the last panel on the right is the elaboration with filter RWM - 1/r theoretical coma subtraction.



Af[rho is a proxy of dust abundance within the coma. It was introduced by Michael A'Hearn et al. in 1984 (AJ 89, 579, 1984) with the aim of comparing measurements concerning the dust continuum under different observing conditions, times and instruments.


A first result obtained by CARA team from a preliminary analysis on comet ISON is shown in the  two plots below: one concerning the observed Af[rho]quantity (where  is evident an apparent peak related to the phase effect) and another with the log(Afrho) quantity corrected for the solar phase effect. Click on the images for a bigger version. 

Credit: CARA


Credit: CARA


On our data of October 01, 2013 we measured an Af[rho] value about 350 cm, for a corresponding aperture of nearly 20,000 km in diameter at the comet distance, confirming the fading trend. Click on the image for a bigger version.







UPDATE - October 05, 2013

We obtained new data on comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on October 04, 2013. The details are on the caption of the image below.


UPDATE - October 06, 2013

We obtained new data on comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on October 05, 2013. The details are on the caption of the image below.


UPDATE - October 07, 2013

We obtained new data on comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on October 07, 2013. The details are on the caption of the image below.


UPDATE - October 08, 2013

Here we present a preliminary analysis with respect to a sunward facing feature detected on comet C/2012 C1 (ISON) The feature imaged between 30th Sept 2013 and 7th Oct 2013 is clearly visible and reproducible in images taken over four observing nights we had with the 2.0 m. Liverpool Telescope between these dates.

All images have the same integrated exposure time (being a sum of 20x11sec.=220sec at 2x2 binning on the CCD, yielding a pixel resolution of 0.3”/pixel.) In all image the same filter (SDSS R' band) and exactly the same false-color scale visualization using Astroart software has been deployed.

After the usual dark subtraction and flat field correction using field data provided by the Liverpool Telescope (as on some nights, automatic calibration was not performed) and stacking on the photometric centre of the coma, we built a radial normalization model of the coma suing a plug in developed for this purpose within Astroart (The plug in is known as the M.C.M. or Median Coma Model). With this , we then subtracted the modelled image from the original image data to enhance any difference between the real and the "ideal modelled" coma.

The results of this processing is shown in the four images detailed below. Each square is a zoomed in view of the full image, and each image is 30" wide, with each rectangular white grid scaled to 7.5"x10". The white pixel in the centre of each image is the brightest pixel inside the coma, known as the optocenter.



The sunward facing feature, feature shows a maximum size on data taken on the 7th Oct reaching out to about 2.7 arcsec (about 4500 km at the projected plate scale) and also is notably almost absent on data taken on the 4 Oct, which we believe is due to adverse seeing conditions on this date at our site on La Palma. The seeing conditions for each night as measured are :1 Oct/1.1" arcsec, 4 Oct/2.1" arcsec, 5 and 7 Oct. 1.5" arcsec.

At this plate scale the sunward facing feature we believe cannot be associated with any degree of confidence with any nuclear phenomenon (eg/jets) but  after careful analysis, we now believe it to be a typical cometary coma condensation. We therefore state that this feature is a cometary atmosphere feature present in almost all comets approaching the Sun and the Earth.

UPDATE - November 06, 2013

We obtained new data on comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on November 04, 2013. The details are on the caption of the image below.


UPDATE - November 11, 2013

We obtained new data on comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on November 11, 2013. DDP processed on the image to enhance the core of the coma and the thin second tail. The details are on the caption of the image below.


by Nick Howes, Ernesto Guido and Martino Nicolini

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Comet: P/2013 R3 (CATALINA-PANSTARRS)

Cbet nr. 3658, issued on 2013, September 27, announces the independent discoveries of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~18.0) by the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope (with no mention of the appearance of the object; observer R. E. Hill) and by Bryce Bolin, Jan Kleyna, Larry Denneau, and Richard Wainscoat from images obtained with the 1.8-m Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala. Bolin et al. wrote that the discovery images show two distinct nuclear components separated by approximately 3" towards a position angle of 240 degrees, and a diffuse tail that extends for approximately 14" towards p.a. 240 degrees.

The new comet has been designated P/2013 R3 (CATALINA-PANSTARRS).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object on September 28, 2013.  Below you can see our image of this comet, stacking of 20 unfiltered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope Observatory, New Mexico) on 2013, September 28.3, through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-S53 assigns the following preliminary elliptical orbital elements to comet P/2013 R3: T 2013 July 21.48; e= 0.29; Peri. = 2.83; q = 2.12;  Incl.= 0.85

by Ernesto Guido & Nick Howes

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Comet Images by Faulkes Telescope South

Below you can see the comets we imaged on 2013, September 24.6 through the 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD of Faulkes Telescope South (MPC code E10 - operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network). Click on the images for a bigger version (details are in the caption of each photo).

Comet P/2013 J2 (McNaught) - September 24, 2013


Comet 154P/Brewington - September 24, 2013


C/2009 F4 (McNaught) - September 24, 2013



C/2013 E2 (Iwamoto) - September 24, 2013



by Ernesto Guido & Nick Howes

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 R1 (LOVEJOY)

Cbet nr. 3649, issued on 2013, September 09, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~14.4) by Terry Lovejoy on CCD images obtained with a 20-cm f/2.1 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector on two nights. The new comet has been designated C/2013 R1 (LOVEJOY).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp.  Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope Observatory, Siding Spring) on 2013, September 08.7, through a 0.32-m f/9.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: sharp central condensation surrounded by a coma about 25" in diameter and a tail about 40" in PA 245.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.



M.P.E.C. 2013-R72 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 R1: T 2013 Dec. 25.78; e= 1.0; Peri. = 63.26; q = 0.87;  Incl.= 61.94

Below you can see a graph generated using the software Orbitas and showing the predicted magnitude (in red) versus the elongation. Click on the image for a bigger version. (A word of caution: as always with comets, the future magnitudes reported here are only indicative).



UPDATE - September 11, 2013

You can read here the discovery story written by Terry Lovejoy.

by Ernesto Guido & Nick Howes

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fireball over northern Italy - September 03, 2013

A bright fireball has been seen over northern Italy aroud 02:12 local time (00:12 UT) of September 03, 2013.

Recently we installed an All-Sky camera on Mount Matajur Observatory - Italy (MPC Code B68). This all-sky camera is the first step toward remote observing from Matajur Observatory as it will be very important to check the sky conditions before the observing sessions and to image transient phenomena like yesterday fireball. While the camera is still in the testing phase, it has been able to image the flash by this bright fireball. See our video below showing the flash from the fireball and the frames just before and after the event. Click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version.

Flash from Fireball over northern Italy on September 03, 2012 at 00:13UT - All-Sky Camera Mount Matajur Observatory in Italy - AFAM photo fireball_03_september_2013_matajur_4_zps4d290680.gif

Below you can see an image & video of this Fireball imaged from Ferrara by a meteor-cam station of IMTN ( Italian Meteor and TLE Network ) group.


Some witnesses in the Veneto region have reported hearing sounds (such as explosions) after the passage of the fireball.

On the same night, at 02:26 local time (00:26 UT) - 14 minutes after the Fireball - our All-Sky camera imaged another bright meteor. You can see the image and the animation below (click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version). 



Bright Meteor - September 03, 2013 at 00:26UT - ALL-Sky Camera Mount Matajur Observatory - Italy - AFAM photo fireball_03_september_2013_matajur_3_zps58ed9443.gif

by Luca Donato, Ernesto Guido & Massimiliano Travagini

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 P4 (PANSTARRS)

Cbet nr. 3638, issued on 2013, August 26, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~20.8) by professional survey F51 Pan-STARRS 1 (Haleakala) on CCD images obtained with 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien on August 15, 2013. After posting on the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP webpage, other CCD astrometrists have commented on the object's cometary appearance. The new comet has been designated C/2013 P4 (PANSTARRS).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 9 R-filtered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Faulkes Telescope South (Siding Spring) on 2013, August 26.5, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network), shows that this object is a comet: sharp central condensation surrounded by a coma about 15" in diameter elongated in PA 190.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-Q34 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 P4: T 2015 June 23.59; e= 1.0; Peri. = 157.50; q = 4.40;  Incl.= 4.33

by Ernesto Guido, Kris Rochowicz, Nick Howes

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Possible Bright Nova in Delphinus

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Bright Nova in Del (TOCP Designation: PNV J20233073+2046041) we performed some follow-up of this object through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD from MPC Code I89 (iTelescope network - Nerpio, Spain) and through a 0.25-m f/6.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD from MPC code C82 (Sorrento, Italy).

On our images taken on August 14.8, 2013 from MPC I89 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with unfiltered CCD magnitude 6.8 at coordinates:

R.A. = 20 23 30.72, Decl.= +20 46 03.4

(equinox 2000.0; UCAC-3 catalogue reference stars).

On our images taken on August 14.8, 2013 from MPC C82 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with unfiltered CCD magnitude 6.9 and R-Filtered magnitude 6.1 at coordinates:

R.A. = 20 23 30.68, Decl.= +20 46 03.7

(equinox 2000.0; CMC-14 catalogue reference stars).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version): 



An animation showing a comparison between our confirmation image and the archive POSS2/UKSTU plate (R Filter - 1990). Click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version:


Animation of Possible Nova in Del by E. Guido & N. Howes photo gif_1531x1459_2db958_zps3f68f105.gif


UPDATE - August 15, 2013
  
According to Cbet No. 3628, PNV J20233073+2046041 is now NOVA DELPHINI 2013. This nova has been discovered by Koichi Itagaki (Teppo-cho, Yamagata, Japan) on an unfiltered CCD frame taken on Aug. 14.584 UT using a 0.18-m reflector.

According to ATel #5279 an optical spectrum of NOVA DELPHINI 2013 was obtained (through patchy cloud) by the FRODOSpec instrument on the 2m robotic Liverpool Telescope on La Palma at 2013 August 14.909. The spectrum contains strong Balmer series emission exhibiting P Cygni profiles with velocities ~2000 km/s. A number of Fe II (also P Cygni profiles) and (weak) He I lines may be present. This object is likely to be a newly erupting classical nova (in the early fireball stage). A grating spectra, obtained by S. N. Shore et Al. on 2013 Aug. 14.87 with the coude spectrograph at the 2 meter Zeiss telescope of the Ondrejov Observatory, shows strong H-alpha emission with a P Cyg profile extending to a maximum radial velocities of -2300 km/s (absorption, EW approx 8.1A) and +2400 km/s (emission, EW \approx 52.9A) with no terminal edge at high negative velocity. The spectrum is typical of a classical nova -- possibly CO type -- in the early (optically thick) fireball stage but with indications of the onset of the recombination event.

UPDATE - August 17, 2013

According to the preliminary light-curve from AAVSO (see image below), NOVA DELPHINI 2013 reached a peak V magnitude ~ 4.3 on August 16.4.

Credit: AAVSO

Some interesting remarks about the nova are included in the ATel #5297 by Munari et Al.:
"Nova Del 2013 seems to have reached maximum brightness on August 16.45 UT at V=4.3 mag. It immediately entered the decline phase and it is declining pretty fast, of the order of 1 mag in a day, qualifying it as a very fast nova if the pace will be maintained on the coming days. Also the rise toward maximum has been real fast, 2 mag in about 1.5 days according to our photometry and AAVSO database. The total outburst amplitude is 12.6 mag in V, adopting V=16.9 mag for the progenitor as given by GSC 2.3.2."


Our image and animation showing the difference in brightness of NOVA DELPHINI 2013 between August 14.83 (V mag. ~6.3)  and August 15.93 (V mag. ~5.1). Images obtained with the same instrumentation and exposures. Click on the image for a bigger version.




Click here or on the thumbnail for a bigger version of the animation.

NOVA DELPHINI 2013 imaged on 14.83 (V mag. ~6.3) & 15.93 (V mag. ~5.1) August 2013 by E. Guido & N. Howes photo Nova_DEL_Animation_14_15_August_2013_zps571548c5.gif


Below you can see a spectrum of NOVA DELPHINI 2013 obtained by M. Fulle on August 16 with a f=180mm f/2.8 with Star Analyser 100, 10x10-second exposure at 6400ISO (click on it for a bigger version).

Credit: M. Fulle


While below there is a normalized spectra obtained by Fujii-san on August 15, 2013 (click on it for a bigger version).


Credit: Fujii-san

UPDATE - August 18, 2013

According to Taichi Kato on [vsnet-alert 16230], NOVA DELPHINI 2013 reached a plateau, no fading.
The most recent AAVSO data indicate that the nova stopped fading (or even slightly brightened), and currently stays slightly above mag 5.0.  This behavior is consistent with Fujii-san's spectrum, which showed features of a premaximum nova. This nova is not a very fast nova as reported in ATEL 5297 (Munari et al.).

by Ernesto Guido, Nello Ruocco and Nick Howes