Friday, 12 April 2013

The discovery of asteroid 2013 GM21

I am way behind with my reporting on this blog, for which I apologize. I still have satellite observations from early March to report, as well as (somewhat off-topic) observations of comet 2011 L4 PANSTARRS and spectacular Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) from Finland mid March. For various reasons, I did not come to that yet. Maybe coming weekend...

Meanwhile, a short report on my latest asteroid discovery: 2013 GM21, which was published in the DOU MPEC K13-G54 today (Apr 12, 2013: look for object K13G21M).

On  April 6th, I was on my own initiative (and successfully) trying to get follow-up observations on three objects (2013 EZ102, 2013 EB103 and 2013 EC103) which Krisztian Sarneczky and I discovered in the Konkoly survey from MPC 461 (the 60-cm Schmidt of Konkoly, HU) mid-March. I was "remotely" using the 81-cm Schulman telescope of the Mt. Lemon Sky Center (MPC G84) for that, one of the telescopes in the SSO Network.

In the images that should (and did) contain 2013 EZ102, I found two other moving objects. Both were unidentified - i.e., they were not in the MPCOrb asteroid database of the IAU Minor Planet Center and could be new discoveries! So they were submitted to the MPC with the temporary designations LaMa515 and LaMa516.

One of these (LaMa515) turned out to have been observed by another observatory just days before, so that one was not a new discovery: the other observatory alas beat me to it.

 photo 2013_GM21_LaMa516_6APR_G84_anim_zps6ec97a6c.gif
click image to enlarge

The second object however, a mag +19.5 to +20 object I temporarily designated LaMa516 moving quite close to 2013 EZ102 in the images, turned out to be truely new: my observations of April 6th were the first! It can be seen in the blink above, which shows you a small part of the April 6th discovery images. 2013 EZ102 is in the images too.

I next obtained new images, based on a very rough search orbit fit, on April 7th, 8th and on April 11th, again using the 81-cm telescope of MPC G84. As a result, it was formally MPEC-ed today by the MPC as 2013 GM21: my second asteroid discovery using a "remote" telescope! And my 69th asteroid discovery in total (and 5th in 2013, the other four being in the Konkoly survey. For a full list of my discoveries see here).

The asteroid is a borderline Maria family main belt asteroid. With H=16.8, it is an estimated 1.5 km large. It has the following orbital elements (source: MPC):

2013 GM21

Epoch 2013 Mar. 29.0 TT = JDT 2456380.5   MPC
M 351.06235              (2000.0) 
n   0.24233744     Peri.   39.90632             
a   2.5479390      Node   164.25356             
e   0.0734092      Incl.   17.12483
q   2.3608968      T       2456417.38101 JDT 
P   4.07           H   16.8 
From 13 observations 2013 Apr. 6-11.

click images to enlarge

As can be seen in the orbital plots, the orbit is well inclined to the ecliptic. I discovered it when it was in opposition and close to perihelion of its orbit, these two factors combining in a maximum brightness for the object. This is basically the same situation as with my earlier discovery 2012 SM58.


Ellen said...

Congrats! very impressive!

Tango Rolf Papa said...

Wich program do you use for the Orbital plots ?

SatTrackCam Leiden said...

In this case I used "Halley", which is freeware Russian software with a focus on comets (but you can input asteroids as user objects)