Friday, 5 May 2006

2006 April notes: Integral, 2006 GA, 2006 GC, Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

April was a much better month than the last few, with 19 usable nights.

The artificial satellite Integral wandered into the field of component 73P-N/Schwassmann-Wachmann on the morning of April 12th, moving at about 230"/min. Not knowing whether it was a close approaching NEO or a very unusual artificial satellite I followed it for 50 minutes until it ran into bright twilight, which was long enough to work out an orbit for it and to pick it up again 2 nights later. Thanks go to Tony Beresford and Mike McCants for identifying it for me.
Artificial Satellite Integral passes through the field of view of faint fragments of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

A couple of NEOs were followed for several weeks (2006 GA & 2006 GC) but most were observed for much shorter arcs. A fair proportion of the early mornings during the month were spent imaging over 30 of the components of 73P as it approached the Earth.