Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New CCD (1 Ceres)

I've traded in my color camera for a mono CCD for higher resolution and easier processing.

It seems to be very sensitive! As it's first test, I decided to image asteroid 1 Ceres. It just passed opposition in June and, thus is very bright at about magnitude 7.
As its number implies, Ceres was the first Minor Planet or Asteroid to be discovered. It was discovered by G Piazzi at Palermo in Sicily being first seen by him on 1 January 1801.

Ceres has a diameter of 932.6 km and is easily the largest inner asteroid, although recently a number of larger Kuiper belt objects have been discovered. At its 2006 meeting in Prague, the IAU voted that Ceres should be one of the group of "Dwarf Planets". It is the only asteroid that is large enough to be pulled into a spherical shape by its gravity.

Ceres's orbital period is 4.60 years, its distance from the Sun varying between 2.55 and 2.98 AU. The orbit is inclined at 10.6° to the ecliptic.

I'm quite please with the new CCD and even from my suburban skies, am getting down beyond mag 18. I don't know how dim I can go yet as none of my software shows stars dimmer than that. I need to download the 80GB data set and that should take a while.

(source here)