>How to do Asteroid screening

  • Posted on: 25 June 2019
  • By: tihomiry

While cleaning up my PC I found sequences of shots of Virgo galaxy cluster taken during springs of the last 2 years. Those were attempts to shot this object, but I was not satisfied with the result and left them. Having shots with the same equipment from long period of time are valuable as you can check for any changes in the filed that might lead to a discovery. So I do. I got all of them and stack. Since recently I am using algorithm in DeepSkyStacker that do not clear the movements on the shots. It is Entropy Weighed Averege.
After did the stack of about 112 frames of 30s, I saw something that is very similar to the behavior of asteroid. It was present only on the shots from 9th of April 2018. Using Stelarium, I estimated the coordinates of the object and the approximate brittleness of 16 by compare it to the nearby stars. I asked for help in order to recognise the object in the Bulgarian astro forum forum.starrydreams.com, as I am not an expert in asteroid tracking and the shots were taken more then year ago. They show me the Minor Planet Checker site and the asteroid was mached to (1558) Jarnefelt with is 65 km of diameter. It is typical to observer asteroids beyond Mars orbit near the ecliptic. Here is one example at Astrobin. By cpmparing the stacked result with a single shot, what also amaze is how much data you can retrieve from the noisy background of the 14bit RAW file. Each faint spot is a galaxy that is only visible in the stacked image and only few fotons have been recorded at a single frame. The setup is as usual: Pentax k5, 112x30s, ISO 12800, SkyWatcher 200pds.
So here are the shots:

1. Single frame crop:


2. Stack 112x30s crop. The trace is not a solid line as the stack algoritm have excluded some bad frames.


3. Final image:

This is a comparison of my not modified Pentax k5 DSLR and the same, but modified one without IR-cut filter.

Astrotracer is a great way to take advantage of the Pentax DSLR camera in-body shake reduction mechanism. It is available since Pentax k5 and track celestial bodies by moving the sensor. Here is what is it ablout:

Staying at my home inspires me to make some documentation of my experience. I got a dedicated drive for my astrophotos and start reorganize them by objects. Here is an article of the most recent process I use on my photos. Enjoy: )

For a few months from now Betelgeuse (Alpha Orion) dim so much, that it looks as bright as the stars in the Orion belt. This is not so disturbing and does not mean that cataclysmic events are happening with it.

For my last trip to the Rodopa mountain I decided to cross the limits and to target an object that is hard to believe that a non-professional equipment could catch.