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    “Vesta Watch”: a spectacular sight of a bright asteroid

    Asteroid (4) Vesta shows its motion

    Asteroid (4) Vesta shows its motion

    The “Vesta Watch” live event was intended to show live, online images of the bright asteroid (4) Vesta during its favorable 2014 apparition, just in April 2014, by chance overlapping with Global Astronomy Month 2014. The Virtual Telescope Project and Astronomers Without Borders managed to bring this show to people worldwide, via the web.

    The event was amazing: the almost 2000 people who joined the show were introduced to asteroids, before unveiling Vesta’s world and have a real-time sight with the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. We managed to make clear Vesta’s apparent motion taking a few images over about 40 minutes; the image above shows this very well. It is the sum of two frames, aligned respect to the stars, with the bright asteroid left “free”: so it looks double, as it changed position during the 40 minutes separating the two shots.

    Asteroid (1) Ceres

    Asteroid (1) Ceres

    As a bonus, asteroid (1) Ceres, the first to be discovered on 1 Jan. 1801, was also observed, sitting in the very same patch of sky as Vesta.

    Above is the podcast from the live event (the live starts at minute 29:00).

     

    Back to “Star Words”

     

    Vesta Watch: online observation of the asteroid – 10 April 2014

    Vesta Watch: online observation

    Vesta Watch: online observation

    an official event for Global Astronomy Month (April 2014)

    *** Join it LIVE here! ***

    Join us as we observe the asteroid Vesta. Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System. At the time of viewing it will be brighter than magnitude 6. So easily visible by the Virtual Telescope.

    Global Astronomy Month 2014 (GAM 2014, April 2014), is bringing to you Vesta and the fascinating world of asteroids , thanks to our robotic telescopes, providing real time images and live comments. All this while chatting and sharing your passion and excitement with friends from all around the world.

    Join us on April 10, starting at 20.30 Universal Time! You just need to access our online webTV, click here!

    Don’t miss Global Astronomy Month, and be ready to celebrate the Universe with us!

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    15 April 2014: Total Lunar Eclipse – live event, online!

    15 April 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse: poster

    15 April 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse: poster

    an official event for Global Astronomy Month (April 2014)

    *** Join it LIVE here! ***

    Next 15 April 2014, the Moon will offer an amazing total eclipse, well visible from the US, Central America, Chile, Australia and a few more Countries. The Virtual Telescope Project was asked by many people to plan something, also because April is Global Astronomy Month, so we wanted to meet that request: unfortunately Italy – where our robotic facility is – will not see it.

    We had the idea to look for collaborators willing to join this international effort and a few answered: we decided to go! The team making the live event is composed by

    • astrophotographer: Joaquin Fabrega Polleri (Asociacion Panameña de Aficionados a la Astronomia, Panama);
    • astrophotographer: Gary Varney (South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, Florida);
    • astrophotographer: Fernando Rodriguez (South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, Florida);
    • astrophotographer: Ron Delvaux (Delvaux Observatory, Arizona);
    • astrophotographer Marcy Malavasi (Altair , Costa Rica)
    • astrophotographer John W. Johnson (Omaha Astronomical Society, Nebraska)
    • astrophotographer James McCue (New Mexico)
    • coordinator and live comment: astrophysicist Gianluca Masi (The Virtual Telescope Project, Italy).

    If you want be part of the team, please let us know.

    *** Join it LIVE here! ***

    Join us on April 15, starting at 06.30 Universal Time! You just need to access our online webTV, click here!

    *** Join it LIVE here! ***

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    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1 very close encounter: images and movie (6 April)

    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1: 6 Apr. 2014

    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1: 6 Apr. 2014

    The scheduled, last minute event covering the very close approach of the Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1 went very well. The sky was great and the object was observed for several hours. Above is an image coming from the live, public session, when this 50 meters rock was setting above the Italian horizon, while at 1.2 millions of km from us.

    It was moving pretty fast in the sky: while its speed relative to the Earth as around 20 km/second, its apparent angular motion was almost 3 arc-minutes: in 10 minutes it covered the angular size of the full Moon disk. The PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit tracked it thanks to its venerable Paramount ME mount, which handled this extreme fast motion very well.

    Below is an image taken a few hours later: while the exposure time was of 2 minutes in both cases, the image shown earlier shows longer star trails (be sure to check this on full res images, clicking on both), as the object was apparently faster: this is a nice evidence for this!

    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1: 5 Apr. 2014

    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1: 5 Apr. 2014

    The asteroid was seen live by about 2000 viewers from more than 100 Countries, during the event which was part of Global Astronomy Month 2014. People could see the object as they were physically in the control room of the telescope: the Virtual Telescope technology shares with the public the very same panel used by astronomers, adding realism to the experience.

    Asteroid 2014 GN1 as seen in the control panel of the telescope

    Asteroid 2014 GN1 as seen in the control panel of the telescope

    A live chat made also possible to people to meet and share thoughts and questions with dr. Gianluca Masi, who commented the whole session. The event recording is available here:

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

    Finally, here it is a great movie showing the asteroid, made with images collected during the night, showing some brightness variations while the object rotates:

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

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    Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 GN1 very close encounter: online event (6 Apr. 2014)

    *** Enter the LIVE event here ! ***

    Near-Earth asteroid 2014 GN1: orbital position, 6 Apr. 2014

    Near-Earth asteroid 2014 GN1: orbital position, 6 Apr. 2014

    *** Enter the LIVE event here ! ***

     

    Next 6 Apr. 2014, at 10:25 UT, the 50-meters large asteroid 2014 GN1 will made a very close approach with the Earth, reaching a minimum distance of less than 930.000 km, that is 2.44 lunar distances.

    Of course, this is a very safe distance, but still a very spectacular circumstance, so  the Virtual Telescope Project will offer a live, online event sharing real-time images of 2014 GN1 with live commentary by our scientific staff.

    The online, free session is scheduled for 6 Apr. 2014, starting at 00:00 UT.

    To join, you just need to enter, at the date and time above, our webTV page here!

    Back to “Upcoming Events”

     

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