Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Today on the big scopes

I feel very lucky to have access to two research grade telescopes on an almost daily basis. Being able to contribute to real science with observations of comets, supernova, nova, flare stars, asteroids and collaborate with two unique and brilliant colleagues in Italy, as well as with other scientists and researchers in Chile,Japan, the Canary Islands, Australia and the USA is a thrill and an honour.

Today on Faulkes we're aiming them at some NEO targets and also a comet which we detected fragmentation in a while back. Comet 213P Van Ness appeared in the late summer to be chucking out large lumps from the back, and those lumps, which we either detected as unique first discovery detections, or helped confirm a team in Japan's observations are what we are looking for again. Trying to build up a good understanding of why and what makes comets fragment is a good area of research, with many excellent theories, good experimental and observational data to support them. Our aim is to augment that and try to play our part in understanding these cosmic interlopers.. wish us luck!!


  1. We found a new asteroid when imaging 213P Van Ness today, submission made to the MPC. The new asteroid is magnitude 20.3

    What we were looking for, we didn't find...no fragments appear to be left trailing the comet.. and with a limiting magnitude of 21, we're confident that the original fragments may now have sublimated away

  2. Correction we actually got down to mag 22... nothing there (fragment wise)