Tesla Roadster is flying across the Solar System: images and movie – 8 Feb. 2018

Everyone has been following up the launch of Falcon Heavy, the most powerful booster after the Saturn V. It managed to place a Tesla Roadster in orbit around the Sun. Last night, we could capture it and here we show you more stunning multimedia.

The Tesla Roadster, imaged on 8 Feb. 2018

The Tesla Roadster, imaged on 8 Feb. 2018

We decided to try capturing the Tesla Roadster with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit in Arizona, available as part of the partnership between the Virtual Telescope Project (Italy) and Tenagra Observatories (Arizona, USA).

We slewed the scope where the JPL ephemerides placed the object and we found it there. So, we started capturing a few sequences of images.

The Tesla Roadster during the observing session: 8 Feb. 2018

The Tesla Roadster during the observing session: 8 Feb. 2018

We immediately spotted the Tesla Roadster, quite bright, around mag. 15.5 and moving image after image across the stars. At the time of our observations, the car was at about 470.000 km from us.

We managed to take dozen of images, and we used a group of them to show the trail of the object across the stars.

The trail left across the stars by the Tesla Roadster: 8 Feb. 2018

The trail left across the stars by the Tesla Roadster: 8 Feb. 2018

The trail is visible close to the center of the image. It is apparently curved because the Earth rotated during the 1+ hour needed to collect all the images, moving the telescope with it: this is the so-called “parallax” effect.

Below, you can see the movie coming from those 54 images, captured back to back. NB: click on the movie to get the hi-res version!

Tesla Roadster travels across the stars - 8 Feb. 2018

Tesla Roadster travels across the stars – 8 Feb. 2018

On the video, the car is easy to see; note that there are a few “hot” (white) and “cold” (black) pixels, too, typical of CCD imaging devices. We will continue to cover it in the next nights!

 

New! We showed live images from our telescopes and showing the Tesla surfing the sky: see below!

Back to “Star Words” page

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