Monday, December 27, 2010

OT: (3200) Phaethon, the Geminid meteor shower parent body

This is somewhat Off-Topic as it doesn't concern satellites. It does however concern two other astronomical interests of me: meteors and asteroids.

On December 13th, the annual Geminid meteor shower peaked. Twelve days later, on December 25th, I made this image of the parent body of this meteor shower, asteroid (3200) Phaethon.

The image was made 'remotely' using the 37 cm F14 Cassegrain of Winer Observatory in Sonoita, Nevada (MPC 857). It is a stack of 4 images of 150s exposure each, spaced 20 minutes. It shows the 4 positions taken by the (moving) asteroid for each of these 4 images in this time span. As tracking was on the asteroid motion, the stars are small trails. The asteroid was about magnitude +16.

click image to enlarge

For an interactive orbit plot of (3200) Phaethon, click here.

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