October Monthly Meeting
At the October meeting, Jim Mazur described how for the past year he has been making observations of asteroids from his backyard, using a 14-inch Meade telescope and an SBIG imager. He sends all his observations to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, MA, where they are added to the extensive minor planet database. The procedure involves finding an asteroid for which observations are needed, taking three or more images of that section of sky over the course of 60 or 90 minutes, and then blinking the images to look for moving objects. Using Astrometrica software, he then obtains precise positions for any moving objects in the image. In some images, as many as five or six different asteroids can be seen.
In the past year, Jim has submitted over 600 observations of about 120 different asteroids, and he has found three new asteroids. He has also recovered four asteroids that were previously observed but had not been seen in many years. There were also a few cases where he observed a new asteroid, but it turned out that the asteroid was previously reported by another observer just a day or two earlier.
The three blinking images below show asteroid 2016 AE3, Jim’s first asteroid discovery, which he found on the night of January 1-2, 2016. This asteroid orbits the Sun once every 4 years in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is probably somewhere between 0.6 and 1.3 miles in diameter.
November Monthly Meeting
At this month’s meeting, Al Washburn continued with his series of constellation posters made by students in his astronomy classes in past years. This month’s featured constellation was Taurus, the Bull. The posters artistically portrayed the bull and some of its main sights, including the Pleiades, the Hyades, and the Crab Nebula. Al also discussed and passed around a potential meteorite that actually turned out to be of terrestial origin, and a small sample of a true meteorite.
Laurie Averill presented a beautiful new CSP banner, which she made for the Society to replace the old and worn banner that has been used for over 25 years.
There was an open discussion of recent observing experiences, including observations of the Moon, meteors, and public outreach events at Silver Sands, Young’s Pond, and the Trumbull Arts and Nature Center.