Monday, April 7, 2008

Remote telescope captures stellar occultation by asteroid

They are called Télescopes à Action Rapide pour les Objets Transitoires or simply TAROT, and the purpose of the two 25-cm telescopes in France and Chile is to measure the early optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts - but these remotely controled telescopes can also be used for other purposes. The one at the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, for example, has been observing stars with asteroids approaching for several years, just hoping for a hit - and now this TAROT has provided, once more, a nice chord from this interrupted star trail from a star occultation by (695) Bella on April 1st.

In other news a 15-hours old lunar crescent has been imaged yesterday from Europe (both France and the UK). Hours later in the Americas it was already easy; tomorrow a much fatter crescent will visit M 45, the Plejades. • Whiler brighter than expected comet Boattini remains a challenge for visual observers. • You can get involved in making New Horizons take pretty pictures of the Pluto system, just as they were planned for Jupiter. • Another paper on GRB 080319B - careful, the authors follow a fringe model. • A final report from the HCM 7 conference. • And Buran 002 has now made it to Krefeld, Germany, with many looking on, including TV ...

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