Occultation of Regulus by 163 Erigone – 2014 March 20
General info from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/163_Erigone)
On March 20, 2014, Erigone is expected to occult the first-magnitude star Regulus. This event will be visible along a path about 40 miles wide from New York City to Oswego in the United States, and extending approximately NW into Canada on a track that includes Belleville and North Bay, Ontario.
This is a relatively large, dark asteroid with an estimated size of 73 km. Based upon its spectrum, it is classified as a C-type asteroid, which indicates that it probably has a carbonaceous composition.
163 Erigone is a main belt asteroid, the namesake of the Erigone family of asteroids that share similar orbital elements and properties. It was discovered by French astronomer Henri Joseph Perrotin on April 26, 1876 and named after one of the two Erigones in Greek mythology.
The image above is what the sky will look like at approx 02:07 EDT (the image was created today, using EST, which is why it shows 01:07). in our area, Regulus is high in the southwest sky approx 50 degrees up with an azimuth of 222 deg.
Regulus (α Leo, α Leonis, Alpha Leonis) is the brightest star in the constellation Leo and one of the brightest stars in the night sky, lying approximately 79 light years from Earth. Regulus is a multiple star system composed of four stars that are organized into two pairs. The spectroscopic binary Regulus A consists of a blue-white main-sequence star and its companion, which has not yet been directly observed, but is probably a white dwarf star. Located farther away is the pair Regulus B and Regulus C, which are dim main-sequence stars.
This is a unique opportunity for astronomers in the Kingston Ontario area to organize into a large group effort, observe and record the event, and come up with a high precision map of the asteroid.
One of the attractions of this event is that it will be able to be seen naked eye!
Kim & I are planning a multifaceted approach to this event:
1) run a video camera with GPS time inserter through a small 3″ telescope and a computer to digitize the video stream.
2) watch it visually with a handheld stopwatch to generate an accurate duration
3) watch it visually through a large 8″ telescope with a handheld stopwatch to generate an accurate duration
4) run an audio recording with the WWV time signal and our own “on!” and “off!” signals
This level of redundancy on our own part should give us some kind of data. The video recording with GPS time is the highest standard, but the system is also the most complex and prone to failure. It also allows us to experience the event with the Mark I Eyeball and still get some accurate data.
On the video recording front we have so far:
an older netbook computer running windows 7 starter..
Intel atom N455 @ 1.67GHZ; 1GB ram, 250GB drive, windows 7 starter SP1
To that we added a 10 year old video A-D convertor (about $20-40), a Vstream VS-USB2800D.
It has USB on one end, composite video, svideo and two rca composite audio cables.
Windows found the device driver on its own. After that we plugged in our 1st test camera, a Meade electronic eyepiece with composite video output.
Plugged it in, replaced its 9vdc battery and then went looking at software.
The Vstream came with something called “PVR plus” software. it installed ok but then nothing we did could get a video signal working.
Plan B. Try “Handyavi”.. it worked! We had a video image coming in. Handyavi had its own issues however, so we will try another piece of video recording software called AVSVideoRecorder.
Once that is working well we can start experimenting with a GPS time inserter, which we don’t have yet. It appears the famous “Kiwi” model is no longer made and is no longer available. The IOTA folks have a Video Time Inserter for about $250US plus shipping.