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2008 Earth Flyby: Siding Spring Survey Images EPOXI's Spacecraft

Siding Spring image of the spacecraft during the 2008 flyby

UA/ANU Siding Spring Survey Observes EPOXI's Spacecraft

Caption: Astronomer Robert McNaught of the Siding Spring Observatory recovered (successfully imaged) EPOXI's spacecraft on 29 Dec 2008. The five 10-second exposures were tracked on the motion of the spacecraft resulting in the star streaks. There is a 16 second gap between exposures. Mr. McNaught provides more details below.

Credit: Siding Spring Survey: UA/ANU

Image Details:
Siding Spring Survey (E12)
0.5-m Uppsala Southern Schmidt
Observer: R. H. McNaught
2008 Dec 29, 13:35:22UT -> 13:37:08UT
Animation of 10 sec exposures tracked on the motion of EPOXI (207"/min) with 16 sec gaps between exposures.

North at top, west to right.
450x330 pixels = 13.5x9.9 arcmin

These long exposures were just for publicity. All reported astrometry was from 1 sec exposures, tracked on EPOXI's motion, with the images generally very faint. For the record, the pipeline magnitudes for these 10 sec exposures are 17.8V, 17.5V, 17.3V, 16.9V and 17.5V.

I failed to see EPOXI on images taken around 10:20UT and 16:05UT, either on single or stacked 1 sec exposures. At the end of the night, EPOXI was in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud, so I didn't attempt it then, difficult as it was in open skies.

Robert McNaught

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