Asteroid 324 Bamberga will be well placed, lying in the constellation Perseus, well above the horizon for much of the night.
Regardless of your location on the Earth, 324 Bamberga will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.
From Fairfield, it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:38 (EDT), 30° above your north-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:05, 89° above your northern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 05:31, when it sinks below 21° above your north-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 324 Bamberga 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 324 Bamberga lies opposite to the Sun in the night sky, the solar system is lined up so that 324 Bamberga, the Earth and the Sun lie in a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as 324 Bamberga.
On this occasion, 324 Bamberga will pass within 0.972 AU of us, reaching a peak brightness of magnitude 9.1. Nonetheless, even at its brightest, 324 Bamberga is a faint object beyond the reach of the naked eye; binoculars or a telescope of moderate aperture are needed.
Finding 324 Bamberga
The chart below indicates the path of 324 Bamberga across the sky around the time of opposition.
The position of 324 Bamberga at the moment of opposition will be as follows:
|Asteroid 324 Bamberga||03h21m20s||41°38'N||Perseus||9.1|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 22 November 2022|
28 days old
All times shown in EST.
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 DE430 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.
© European Southern Observatory 2021. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/Vernazza et al./MISTRAL algorithm (ONERA/CNRS).