© NASA/Galileo 1993. Pictured asteroid is 243 Ida.

Asteroid 44 Nysa at opposition

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 at23:29 EDT(76 days ago)
03:29 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Ashburn
The sky at

Asteroid 44 Nysa will be well placed for observation, lying in the constellation Cetus, well above the horizon for much of the night.

Regardless of your location on the Earth, 44 Nysa will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time.

From Ashburn (click to change), it will be visible between 20:41 and 05:23. It will become accessible at around 20:41, when it rises 24° above your eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:04, 59° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 05:23 when it sinks to 25° above your western horizon.

The geometry of the alignment

This optimal positioning occurs when it makes its closest approach to the point in the sky directly opposite to the Sun – an event termed opposition. Since the Sun reaches its greatest distance below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite to it is highest in the sky at the same time.

At around the same time that 44 Nysa passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest in the night sky. This happens because when 44 Nysa lies opposite to the Sun in the night sky, the solar system is lined up so that 44 Nysa, the Earth and the Sun lie in a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as 44 Nysa.

On this occasion, 44 Nysa will pass within 1.284 AU of us, reaching a peak brightness of magnitude 9.5. Nonetheless, even at its brightest, 44 Nysa is a faint object beyond the reach of the naked eye or binoculars; a telescope of moderate aperture and a good star chart are needed.

Finding 44 Nysa

The star charts below mark the path of 44 Nysa across the sky around the time of its opposition.

This star chart is also available to download:

Light-on-dark PNG image PDF document
Dark-on-light PNG image PDF document

The exact position of 44 Nysa at the moment of opposition will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Asteroid 44 Nysa 02h41m10s +08°46' Cetus 9.5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 02 November 2017
Sunrise 07:37
Sunset 18:07
Twilight ends
19:37
Twilight begins
06:07

14-day old moon
Age of Moon
14 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:58 13:51 18:43
Venus 06:14 11:51 17:28
Moon 17:42 00:03 05:17
Mars 04:49 10:47 16:45
Jupiter 07:10 12:32 17:55
Saturn 11:11 15:57 20:42

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed from orbital elements made available by Ted Bowell of the Lowell Observatory. The conversion to geocentric coordinates was performed using the position of the Earth recorded in the DE405 ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The star chart above shows the positions and magnitudes of stars as they appear in the Tycho catalogue. The data was reduced by the author and plotted using PyXPlot. A gnomonic projection of the sky has been used; celestial coordinates are indicated in the J2000.0 coordinate system.

Image credit

© NASA/Galileo 1993. Pictured asteroid is 243 Ida.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

Color scheme