Tag Archives: 2012 DA14

NEA 2012 DA14 observed from the AAT

Yesterday I explained we are resuming the scientific observations at Siding Spring Observatory (NSW, Australia) since the recent bushfires on 13 January 2013. Today we have used this telescope to observe the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) 2012 DA14, which is getting its closest encounter to our planet today (it will be at only 27000 km from the surface of the Earth). Here you have the details:


The path of the NEA 2012 DA14 from the AAT. Observed during the evening twilight on the 15 February 2013 using the FPI camera of the 2dF instrument at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope located at Siding Spring Observatory (NSW, Australia). 25 frames, 2 seconds exposure each, 5 seconds between frames. First frame obtained at 09:53:54 UT, last one at 09:56:22.
Support Astronomers: Lee Spitler (MQ/AAO) & Andy Green (AAO).
Night Assistant at the AAT: Steve Chapman (AAO).
Edition of the data and movie: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO/MQ).
Link to the video in my Flick.

The data were obtained by Lee Spitler (MQ/AAO), Andy Green (AAO) and Steve Chapman (AAO) during the evening twilight while waiting the sky was dark enough to start the scheduled scientific observations. We will try to get more data of this object during the morning twilight. More to come soon!

Update at 14:45 AEST, 16th Feb 2013

I’ve checked there are some problems to watch the video using smartphones and tablets such iPhones and iPad. Just try this link and it should work, although you may get a low resolution version of it. I’m creating a new video to be uploaded to YouTube. At the same time, I’ve just finished this image showing a mosaic with 13 of the frames obtained for the video.

Mosaic with the path of the NEA 2012 DA14 from the AAT. Observed during the evening twilight on the 15 February 2013 using the FPI camera of the 2dF instrument at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope located at Siding Spring Observatory (NSW, Australia). Each frame has an exposition time of 2 seconds.Times are shown in Universal Time (UT), add +11 hours to get the local time in NSW.
Support Astronomers: Lee Spitler (MQ/AAO) & Andy Green (AAO).
Night Assistant at the AAT: Steve Chapman (AAO).
Edition of the data and movie: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO/MQ).


Finally, I confirm we also observed the NEA at the AAT during the morning twilight.

Update at 16:55 AEST, 18th Feb 2013

An updated version of the video, which is now in HD and includes the celestial coordinates, has been included in this excellent article published today in The Conversation by Simon O’Toole (AAO).


The path of the NEA 2012 DA14 from the AAT. Observed during the evening twilight on the 15 February 2013 using the FPI camera of the 2dF instrument at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope located at Siding Spring Observatory (NSW, Australia). 25 frames, 2 seconds exposure each, 5 seconds between frames. First frame obtained at 09:53:54 UT, last one at 09:56:22.
Support Astronomers: Lee Spitler (MQ/AAO) & Andy Green (AAO).
Night Assistant at the AAT: Steve Chapman (AAO).
Edition of the data and movie: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO/MQ).

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Back observing at the Anglo-Australian Telescope

On 13th January 2013 the Siding Spring Observatory and the beautiful Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran (NSW, Australia) were terribly affected by the worst bushfire in NSW in the last decade. Although the astronomical facilities have not experienced any severe damage, the bushfire has destroyed some houses at the Observatory (including the Lodge), burnt tens of houses and destroyed the majority of the trees in the National Park.

However, tonight Thursday 14 February, after a month and a day since the bushfire, astronomers are recommencing observing with the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. I’m one of these astronomers who are now performing the observations remotely from the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) headquarters in North Ryde, Sydney, supported by technical staff at the telescope. The AAO has made public today a press release informing that astronomers are back to work at the AAT!.

The Spindle Galaxy with the AAT. It is an edge-on lenticular galaxy classified as NGC 3155 or Caldwell 53. The data were obtained on 14 February 2013 using the FPI camera of the 2dF instrument at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope located at Siding Spring Observatory. 8 x 20 s + 5 x 40 s + 1 x 60 s integration time (460 s), combined with IRAF. Colours derived using U, V and I images obtained at the 2.5m Cerro Tololo International Observatory by Kuchinski et al. (2000).
First astronomical observations after the bushfires on 13 January 2013.
Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO/MQ) & Lee Spitler (MQ/AAO),
Night Assistant at the AAT: Steve Chapman (AAO)
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Although we are using tonight the Two Degrees Field (2dF) instrument with the AAOmega spectrograph, which allows the acquisition of up to 392 simultaneous spectra of objects anywhere within a two degree field on the sky, we have also used the auxiliary camera that 2dF possesses, the Focal Plane Imager, to take some images of the Spindle galaxy, also known NGC 3115 or Caldwell 53, a lenticular (S0) galaxy located at around 32 million light years from Earth.

However, tonight’s observations are having the AAT looking up to a billion light-years out into space to test our ideas about the still mysterious Dark Energy.