Asteroid (15006) Samcristoforetti: an image – 30 Mar. 2021.

We imaged asteroid (15006) Samcristoforetti, named after Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space.

Asteroid (15006) Samcristoforetti and Iridium NEXT 156: 30 Mar. 2021.

Asteroid (15006) Samcristoforetti and Iridium NEXT 156: 30 Mar. 2021.

The image above comes from the average of seven, 300-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why (15006) Samcristoforetti shows as a sharp dot, marked by an arrow, while stars looks like trails.

As you can see, an artificial satellite crossed the field of view. We carefully checked more than twenty-thousands satellites, finally identifying the trail above with the Iridium NEXT 156.

Our imaging session of (15006) Samcristoforetti was scheduled after the Edu Inaf team launched the idea to honour Samantha Cristoforetti, who is ready to go into space again next year.

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