Minor Planet 2006 VV2
The very dim spot at the center of the images* is the Minor Planet "2006 VV2". It was discovered my by the MIT LINEAR project on November 11th 2006.
Because of if orbit and its diameter, 2006 VV2 was classified as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" by the Minor Planet Center. On March 31st 2007 it came within 8.8 lunar distances (0.023 Au) to Earth. It was bright enough to be seen by small backyard telescopes.
Below are the starting and ending images in the sequence. The sequence covers a time period of 45 minutes, Starting at approx 23:55 EDT and ending at 00:40 EDT. The clouds caused exposure issues with some of the images.
Click either image above to see a larger version
A time lapse animation* of the asteroid's movement is available on YouTube.
The red line in the figure below shows the path of the asteroid during the 45 minute encounter.
Chart created with Thesky6
How it was done:
The image at the top of the page was captured using a Mallincam Hyper Color CCD video camera attached to a modified Stellarve 50mm finderscope piggy-backed on a Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) from a Meade 10" LX200GPS.
The time lapse animation was captured with a ST2000-XM attached to a Stellarvue 102mm refractor. The animation is composed of 299 separate exposures which are 5 seconds in duration with 2 second delay inserted between each exposure. The tracking was handled by the Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount (GEM) with no autoguiding.
At the end of the session the separate images were simply converted from their raw FITS imaging format into JPG format, and then animated using Blaze Media Pro.
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*Still images and composite animation are copyright protected and property of the JAT Observatory. They may not be used or reproduced in any manner without permission.
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