Such a fantastic dark sky location in rural Queensland. Monto is a small but very friendly bush community and a delightful place to spend a few days. This star trails shot was taken looking back towards the campsite on the edge of town. How dark is that!!!
It’s not often I can stake my claim to a first, but here is double one. First amateur to capture a Centaur (that’s an asteroid between Saturn and Neptune) occulting a star and also the first amateur to record the rings around an asteroid!
Charliko is the only known asteroid to have rings. They were discovered last year by a team of professional astronomers lead by Prof Bruno Sicardy who is a great friend to the amateur and whom provides us with great predictions so that we can help provide him data. This event was well attended by the Australian Occultation faithful and I recorded in somewhat difficult circumstances the event. Unfortunately I was the only person to capture it – the more ‘chords’ the better the scientific payload but Bruno assures me that the data will be added to the original observations and will significantly improve the positional data that we know about the rock.
And that is great news, because with better predictions, we can make even better observations in the future. Sweet.
Here’s a neat event from tonight. This asteroid cast a 16.354 second shadow across Samford, and I caught it on video! The event was a little longer than expected and it is a poorly defined object. We learned that it is probably lozenge shaped rather than round and it disappeared gradually suggesting maybe an irregular protrusion (sticky-out bit!) at the leading edge.
It is not often that a planet gets blotted out by the Moon, and even rarer to have my favourite planet, Saturn, disappear behind a crisp dark edge as we saw this week. I partnered the broadcast with Slooh once again and enjoyed a very pleasant evening chatting on air with the team!
I made my second broadcast with the Slooh team yesterday, this time a live show with the potentially hazardous asteroid 2014 HQ124, fondly known as the beast.
It was top fun and the Slooh guys had lined up some really informed experts to lend commentary to the event – its certainly worth watching through the near 70 mins of broadcast if you are interested in near earth objects. If you make it to the end, you will find me waffling on about my kit. Of course, having had almost no sleep in the run up, I was only semi-coherent, but you’ll get my drift!
All in all, a very good show and with an interesting rock plodding on by…
After a few days build-up under superb skies here in Queensland, the big day comes and it clouds over! It is surprisingly rare that the moon passes in front of our solar system neighbours, so when it happens we get excited. These events are special in their beauty and rarity more than for any scientific value and 2014 has given us Australians three chances to watch Saturn disappear. This was the second and only partially successful for me as I recorded glimpses of the event through thick cloud.