Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I might have found Ceres

Emphasis on the word 'might'. (UPDATE: Didn't find yet. Details here.)

For more than a month it has been either cloudy, foggy, rainy or all at the same time. Stargazing or astrophotography haven't been possible. I even had two weeks paternity leave and I thought there must be at least one clear night during that but no...

But yesterday November 12th it was! I got my set out immediately after dark and started shooting. Ceres was my goal but it was still below the horizon. I started with Pleiades and continued on Messier objects near Ursa Major since they seemed easy to find on the camera. I still haven't checked the photos if I caught any.

About 20.30 (looks like my camera has it's time set wrong) Ceres has finally risen enough and I forgot everything else. According to Stellarium it was in Gemini near ŋ Gem. So that's where I aimed.

I stacked the image hastily, rotated it to match Stellariums alignment and started comparing stars. Much of my dissapointment I found nothing from the place Stellarium showed Ceres. Strange though. Its magnitude is supposed to be 7.13 and I could see stars with magnitude more than 11. It should easily visible.

Couple stars off, there was an extra one. Not where Stellarium says. And according to Stellarium, Ceres should never be where I think I see it. Nevertheless, an extra star on a place where should be nothing. Quite convincing. I still have to take another photo myself whenever the next clear night is and compare with it. Or try some astrometrics software to recognize everything in the picture, except for Ceres.

Here's the first stack I made. I really have to make a better one and try the astrometrics for it.