Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Applause to 433 Eros and its Procession Across the Night Sky on January 31, 2012

Eros made an amazing sweep across the sky the night of January 31 and February 1, as February was ushered in by Eros' beautiful luminescence. Although the asteroid was at its brightest last night doesn't mean that you couldn't see it before (and after!) this date; many amateur astronomers captured a glimpse of this asteroid much before the appointed date of opposition, and it was determinable that Eros traveled across the night sky at about the diameter of a full moon per night. "That means that its change in position is already apparent after a couple of hours," specifies. This is considerably swift, when you compare it to other objects (such as planets)!

But what was the event truly like? We know from the Eros Parallax Project, and their Flickr photo-stream. Below are a few selected images that sum the event in whole. 

Location: Monet North

lat. 30°40'17", long 104°01'22.4"W

on January 30, 2012.  "This picture is exposed six times with a time difference of about 10min. I have calculated my 7:00-Eros-position by combinating this picture with a dss-picture and evaluating it with astronet and ds9," by Udo Backhaus.

Eros on: 2012-01-31 0600-0700 UT Location: 36d 55m 49s N, 76d 31m 43s W; from Stephen F. Gagnon at the
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility


Not only in the locations above was asteroid 433 Eros photographed, but also at the Tycho Brahe Observitoriet (the web page is in Swedish!; translations (quotes) provided by Google Translate) in Sweden, where this asteroid was a prime spectacle. "On the night of January 31 was observed asteroid Eros from the observatory. A series of pictures was taken around midnight with the remote-controlled telescope. The animation below shows the movement for about 1 ½ hours." Although the animation cannot be seen here, you can visit the Tycho Brahe Observitoriet and see for yourself. Eros is the brightest object in the image below.



"The images are part of a project for the students Albin Wallden and Max Nordin at Finnvedens gymnasium in Värnamo. It was the students themselves with guidance from the observatory Peter Linde took the pictures remotely from home Värnamo. With a standard Web browser, it is possible that the agreement to control the telescope in Tonganoxie," the Observatory writes. Credit of above image belongs to the two astronomers mentioned. 


Hopefully Eros filled your perspective of astronomy, as we witnessed this rare passing of an major asteroid. Not many asteroids can fill your expectations like this had!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to [] for mentioning Astronomical Events Calendar! "Grattis till Peter Linde och gymnasisterna Max Nordin och Albin Walldén på Finnvedens gymnasium i Värnamo – trions fjärrstyrda samarbete kring Eros-asteroidens opposition avsätter årsringar på nätet. TBO-observationerna härom kvällen har kommenterats på här på hemmaplan men också på Transit of Venus-sajten. och på sajten Astronomical Events Calender finns killarna med. Kanske har också andra webbar uppmärksammat vår animerade bildsvit."

    Although it's in Swedish, it's still astronomy! [Microsoft Translator will work]