Another NEO 2014 JO25 Attempt (bust)
Posted: 20 April 2017
Open: Wednesday, 19 April 2017, 1832 MST
Conditions: Clear, hazy, breezy
After doing some initial preparations for this night's session I relaxed on the observatory patio bench. After the previous almost 9-hour session, and then only getting a little over three hours of sleep during the day, I was still pretty tired. So waiting for sunset while relaxing on the bench was good.
1858 MST: sunset. It was calm now.
1918 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
1921 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X. The view was through a tree. The four Galilean Moons were visible.
Slewed to the star Arcturus and SYNCed the AutoStar. Near Earth Object (NEO) asteroid 2014 JO25 would be near Arcturus in the sky so this seemed to a be reasonable idea to try for the asteroid later in this session. I also prepared the D7200 DSLR for prime focus imaging.
1929 MST: had a better view of Jupiter now. The Great Red Spot was easily seen, 102X. Switched to 271X. The view of Jupiter was surprisingly good considering the planet was still somewhat low in the sky.
I then relaxed some more on the bench waiting for the sky to get darker.
2002 MST: returned to the 12" telescope. Viewed Jupiter, 271X. The Great Red Spot was still visible so I decided to do some iPhone afocal imaging. Mounted the iPhone on the 2" 9mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter. I first used the iOS Camera app for some 30 seconds slo-mo video recordings, afocal 271X. This is a stack of 7308 video frames:
I then used the iOS app NightCap Camera for this single frame image, ISO25, 1/20sec:
2020 MST: final look at Jupiter.
2023 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 5 Pro on the iPhone to GOTO asteroid 2014 JO25. Then began trying to observe the asteroid, which was supposed to be Magnitude +10 to +11. Using SkySafari Pro I kept recentering its predicted position (using its updated TLE, I hoped). Many times I could easily identify background stars as shown in the app. But I never saw any moving object. 2100 MST: gave up on trying to see the asteroid.
With no confidence that imaging would capture the asteroid either, I mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer, focused on the star Arcturus, and locked the primary mirror. 2110 MST: StarLock ON. Used SkySafari to GOTO the "asteroid" and did some imaging. The images showed nothing. Apparently SkySafari 5 Pro used a somewhat out-of-date TLE for the asteroid and so its predicted position of the asteroid was slightly off. I have used SkySafari Pro on previous close asteroid approaches and this is the first one where it has failed me.
There was one exciting moment though. Just after I started the final exposure I saw a very bright meteor high in the sky moving from west to east through the constellation of Boötes. It was brighter than Jupiter. There was one point near the end that did a rapid brightening.
2121 MST: StarLock OFF, Wi-Fi OFF. 2129 MST: LX600 OFF.
Close: Wednesday, 19 April 2017, 2137 MST
Session Length: 3h 05m|
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