Thursday, December 1, 2011

Update on 2011 RC17

M.P.E.C. 2011-W34, issued on 2011 Nov. 22, 02:33 UT, announced the discovery by Leonid Elenin (H15 ISON-NM Observatory, Mayhill) of a new unusual minor planet, with the temporary designation of 2011 RC17. At that time, its preliminary orbital solution provided a comet-like orbit, with a= 6.3 AU, e= 0.53, Incl. = 11.3 deg, and a period of nearly 16 years.

At first we observed this object on 2011 Nov. 22.4, remotely, through the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD. On our stacking it appearance was stellar, however we wanted to secure more images about it, in order to obtain a higher S/N, to make sure about its nature.

Then, on 2011, December 1.4, we were able to obtain another observing session through the Siding Spring-Faulkes Telescope South 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD.

Stacking of 16 R-filtered exposures, 60-sec each, showed that this object had a stellar aspect, with its PSF profile being the same of the nearby field stars of similar brightness (FWHM of 1.4").

Our image of this object (click on it for a bigger version):

by Nick Howes, Giovanni Sostero and Ernesto Guido

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