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RE: Vesta
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Asteroid Vesta visible with only binoculars

Even the guide stars in Capricorn are fairly dim and obscure. Find Capricorn and then take a look about two-thirds of the way (3.3 degrees) down the front leg of Capricornus. Vesta will be brighter than any star within a degree of that spot.
Here's how you can be sure you are looking at an asteroid and not a star:
You can see Vesta moving. It's not immediately perceptible, but with patience you can see that Vesta is in a different place if you check on it over a period of time. Just by luck a distinctive appearance of stars will make this easy tonight.
Once you've found Vesta, verify that there are two small 7th magnitude stars nearby (HIP104229 and HIP104216).

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Google Earth file Asteroid (4) Vesta.kmz (9kb, kmz)



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On the 5th August, 2011, the asteroid (4) Vesta will be at opposition at a distance of 1.2273 AU from the Earth.
The dwarf planet will brighten to magnitude 6.1.



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On the 1st August, 2011, the asteroid (4) Vesta will make its closest approach to the Earth at a distance of 1.2273 AU from the Earth.
The dwarf planet will brighten to magnitude 6.1.



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Hot on the heels of last months' arrival of NASA's spacecraft Dawn at asteroid Vesta, backyard skywatchers throughout August get a chance to see the space rock for themselves in its best and brightest apparition until 2018.
Vesta officially reaches opposition - opposite in the sky from the Sun, - on August 5 and will be at its brightest at magnitude 5.6 around that date- the most brilliant any asteroid  can technically ever get in our skies.

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Vesta reaches magnitude +5.6 on Aug. 6 and is visible to unaided eyes if you have a very dark sky and can pick out its dim speck of light from actual faint stars in the area. Binoculars will show it readily. The asteroid is currently travelling through the constellation Capricornus the Goat, which is seen in the south-southeast sky at about 11 p.m. as August begins.
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Google Earth file Asteroid (4) Vesta.kmz (9kb, kmz)



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Date
2011
R.A
hr min
Dec
 °  '
 Mag. Const
May 720 59.4-17 147.2Capricornus
May 1721 10.7-16 567.1Capricornus
May 2721 19.8-16 506.9Capricornus
Jun 621 26.6-16 596.8Capricornus
Jun 1621 30.6-17 246.6Capricornus
Jun 2621 31.6-18 076.4Capricornus
Jul 621 29.5-19 086.2Capricornus
Jul 1621 24.3-20 226.0Capricornus
Jul 2621 16.6-21 445.8Capricornus
Aug 521 07.5-23 035.6Capricornus
Aug 1520 58.1-24 125.8Capricornus
Aug 2520 50.0-25 046.1Capricornus
Sep 420 44.2-25 366.3Capricornus
Sep 1420 41.5-25 486.6Capricornus
Sep 2420 41.9-25 436.8Capricornus
Oct 420 45.5-25 227.0Capricornus
Oct 1420 51.7-24 497.2Capricornus
Oct 2421 00.4-24 047.4Capricornus
Nov 321 10.9-23 097.5Capricornus
Nov 1321 23.0-22 057.7Capricornus
Nov 2321 36.4-20 537.8Capricornus
Dec 321 50.7-19 327.9Capricornus
Dec 1322 05.7-18 048.0Aquarius
Dec 2322 21.3-16 308.1Aquarius


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Asteroid (4) Vesta in the constellation Virgo, 20.06 UT, 1st August, 2010.

Magnitude= 8.0mag
Best seen from 19.1h -19.9h
RA=11h55m45.9s  Dec= +6°40'16" (J2000) 
Distance to Sun=2.238AU 
Distance to Earth=2.797AU
hourly motion: dRA= 62.1"/h  dDec=-30.1"/h

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P12400032.gif

Date: 2:40 GMT, 21st February, 2010

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nach der zumindest digitaltechnisch erfolgreichen Beobachtung der Jupiter/Venus-Konjunktion am Abend galt es den ausnahmsweise klaren Himmel noch weiter zu nutzen. Immerhin bot sich die gute Gelegenheit des Asteroiden Vesta ohne lange Sucherei dingfest zu machen, da er in dieser Nacht an dem 2 mag hellen Stern Gamma Leonis (Algieba) vorbeizog. Da Vesta jetzt ihre Oppositionshelligkeit vom 6.1 mag erreicht hat, war sie im Fernglas binnen Sekunden gefunden. Weil ich ja nun einmal drauben war und die Nacht überraschend mild (ich hatte mit heftigem Strahlungsfrost gerechnet), habe ich noch eine längere Fotosession eingelegt.
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P1200006b.jpg
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Date: 1:20 GMT, 17th February, 2010.


The most prominent asteroid in the sky is currently yours for the perusing with binoculars -- and perhaps even the naked eye.
Tomorrow night, Wednesday, Feb. 17, Vesta, the second most massive object in the asteroid belt, reaches what astronomers like to call "opposition." An asteroid (or planet or comet) is said to be "in opposition" when it is opposite to the sun as seen from Earth. In other words, if you were to stand outside with the sun directly above you at high noon, Vesta would be directly below your feet some 211,980,000 kilometres
away. With Vesta at opposition, the asteroid is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit.

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Asteroid Vesta at magnitude 6.1 is located between Gamma Leonis (magnitude 2.5) and 40 Leonis (magnitude 4.8).

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