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View Full Version : Stardust sighted!



ngc3314
2006-Jan-15, 04:43 AM
Let us be the first to welcome Stardust home! After trying various techniques for several hours, members of my Observational Techniques course got at least one image of Stardust at a range of about 160,000 km, shortly before 0400 UT. A rough photometric calibration gives a visual magnitude of 18.0, whch explains why our ordinary images didn't show it without tracking the telescope to follow it, as well as waiting for it to get as close as our horizon would allow. We followed it to about 15 degrees off the horizon, where a combination of limb darkening from some very tall trees amd the construction lights of Bryant-Denny stadium suggested it was time to go to bed.

We used the University of Alabama's 0.4-meter telescope (www.astr.ua.edu/keel/ua16inch.html). A picture (look in the red circle...) may be found here (www.astr.ua.edu/keel/stardust).

You're on the home stretch - now just be sure to pull into the garage nice and slooooowwwwwww.

The Bad Astronomer
2006-Jan-15, 04:49 AM
VERY cool. I'll be out looking tonight as well, if it isn't raining... and it's brighter than 18th mag. :-) I added this to my blog, by the way.

ChrisRT
2006-Jan-15, 04:54 AM
Awesome! I never realized this was possible! Anyone know where some snaps of it are?

Wolverine
2006-Jan-15, 06:28 AM
We used the University of Alabama's 0.4-meter telescope (http://www.astr.ua.edu/keel/ua16inch.html). A picture (look in the red circle...) may be found here (http://www.astr.ua.edu/keel/stardust).

Wow! Very impressive. Thanks for sharing. :clap:

Glom
2006-Jan-15, 02:06 PM
Full coverage (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/0601_stardust_archive.html)

It didn't die! :D