Sunday, 7 February 2010

14 Tauri occultation

Update from below...
I drove out to the observatory at midnight on a working weekday night, set up my tripod outside and pointed at the star 14 Tauri. I took continuous 10 second exposures around 00:56 am, while I watched the star through binoculars to see if there was an occultation by the asteroid below. Frustratingly, some high cloud drifted past just at the wrong minute, and made the star hard to see clearly, and it could well have disappeared for a second or so without me noticing. I was on the northern edge of the possible error limit of the occultation 'shadow' and as was likely, saw no disappearance of the star. After reviewing the camera shots there was no noticeable dimming of the star on 'film', but of course, it could have disappeared between shots. Also, unusually, during the crucial minute, some chatty cyclists came by. This disturbed me to look away from the binoculars and then I had to refind the star, so I can't say for sure it didn't disappear! Here's a picture with 14 Tauri labelled. It is quite impressive that Flamsteed could see this star without optical aid.

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