Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comet images from FT + new minor planets

Thanks to a new "Faulkes Telescope" Project allowing amateur astronomers and schoolchildren to team up to follow-up small bodies of the Solar System, recently we have been able to image many comets and neos. Below you can see a selection of our targets.

All the images have been taken with the 2.0 meters "Faulkes Telescope North" & "Faulkes Telescope South". Click on the images for a bigger version (details are in the caption of each photo).

Comet 2P/Encke - July 05, 2011

Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) - July 29, 2011

Comet 9P/Tempel - July 22, 2011

Comet 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková - July 27, 2011

Comet C/2009 F4 (McNaught) - July 21, 2011

During our follow-up of known comets and Neo-cp objects, we have found many new main-belt minor planets (at least 15 in the past few weeks). Thanks to the help from schools involved with the Faulkes educational program, we have been able to improve the observing arc and orbital data for these new objects and as a bonus we have received the discovery asterisk from the Minor Planet Centre for many of them.

Below you can see an animation showing the motion of 4 of the new objects we found during our survey (click on the thumbnail for a bigger version):

While in the field below imaged by teacher Boaz and his students during their 2P/Encke campaign, we found 3 uncatalogued new minor planets that we submitted to the MPC (the faintest was magnitude 21).

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Giovanni Sostero

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