(25143) Itokawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No I am sorry that I did not take the picture above.  The Japanese probe Hayabusa made this image after the space craft arrived in the vicinity of Itokawa on September 12, 2005.  The asteroid’s length is only 530 meters and it is a Mars orbit crossing asteroid (and maybe some with the Earth).  Its average speed is about 57,000 mph.  This is about the same speed as our fastest New Horizon’s rocket currently flying to Pluto.

 

Over the weekend I decided that I wanted to make real observations of a minor planet whose data were deemed critical to the Minor Planet Center (MPC).  (25143) Itokawa was on the critical list.  So I set out to find and measure its coordinates on two successive nights as required by the MPC.  After I was successful in locating Itokawa on January 3rd, Jo asked me what is so special about this asteroid.  I really had no idea, but I just guessed that maybe it was the asteroid that the Japanese Space Agency had visited, and the MPC was trying to see if there were any orbital impacts?  To my surprise, it was indeed the asteroid on which there was a landing.  After again finding the asteroid on January 4th I submitted my observational data to the MPC.

 

I collected data on January 4th and 5th (UTC time) by taking 14 images of 20 minutes each with a clear filter.  After making measurements and submitting my data, I then processed these images into the attached 3 second motion picture. 

 

Have a look and see if you can find all 6 asteroids?  Three are pretty easy; the others are not so easy. If you are on a broadband internet connection download this file and save it and then run it on your computer. The file is a over 4.6MB animated .GIF:

25143-Itokawa-Stackv800.gif

Here is the solution in an animated .MOV for Quicktime with indicators to mark the 6 minor planets:

25143-Itokawa-Stackv3-Sol1.mov

Still can't see them? Maybe you need a higher quality monitor?

Here are the basic data that was submitted to the MPC regarding Itokawa on the nights of 1.3.2010, 1.4.2010, and 1.5.2010:

COD H12
CON Site Name New Mexico Skies, Observatory Name TechDome
OBS M. Schick
MEA M. Schick
TEL 0.5-m f/8.1 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD
NET USNO-A2.0
COM Long. 105 31 45.2 W, Lat. 32 54 11.4 N, Alt. 2221m, Google Earth
NUM 09
ACK MPC Input Received Batch 00x
25143 C2010 01 03.10322 05 26 50.20 25 08 11.7 19.8
25143 C2010 01 03.13162 05 26 46.07 25 08 12.3 20.0
25143 C2010 01 03.15986 05 26 42.36 25 08 11.0 20.0

25143 C2010 01 04.18494 05 24 27.52 25 07 59.7 19.9
25143 C2010 01 04.22052 05 24 22.07 25 07 59.3 19.8
25143 C2010 01 04.27588 05 24 14.52 25 07 58.4 19.8

25143 C2010 01 05.20787 05 22 14.46 25 07 38.9 20.0
25143 C2010 01 05.24328 05 22 09.84 25 07 38.3 20.0
25143 C2010 01 05.30027 05 22 01.77 25 07 36.4 20.0


January, 2010