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RickJ
2012-Dec-13, 01:34 AM
Last night (December 12, 2012 UT or 12-12-12 which my neighbor thinks is a bad omen) the asteroid (4179) Toutatis passed by us at a bit over 4.25 million miles from us when the clouds opened (first time in over a month) for 2 15 minute openings then shut me down again. I had to work fast so the results aren't what I wanted.

I used the data to make two images here. I hope to eventually get a movie from this data. But with the holiday season, time is short so this is a quick process.

For about 13 minutes I had a clear window to grab 20 30 second frames while the Paramount tracked Toutatis using its orbital elements. Then the clouds shut me down for a bit. When they opened again I got 20 more 20 second frames, this time tracking at sidereal rate plus 3 30 second frames in each color. I wanted more but the next red frame was clouded out with the clouds never opening again. I used the first frames to make a mono image with trailing stars showing its motion over 13 minutes (the extra 3 minutes is due to the slow download speed of the camera). I then made a LRGB image using the later data taken tracking stars rather than the asteroid. Then I used the trailed asteroid color frames to determine the RGB values to the asteroid. Rather than 6 colored dashes for the asteroid I took the round asteroid L frame and colored it with the RGB data and inserted it where it was in the 10th frame tracking at sidereal rate.

Images are reduced from 1" to 1.5" for bandwidth limits and because the higher resolution was rather meaningless anyway. Taken with my 14" LX200R and STL-11000XM CCD. The asteroid is the bright "star" near the center of the images.

Rick