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Comin' our way Friday

Celestial Objects to Observe

Hunting Asteroids From Your Backyard

You can discover an asteroid tonight. Digital technology and the CCD revolution have given amateurs the ability to do it. Here's how.

Asteroid 2 Pallas

Celestial Objects to Observe

Pallas in the Realm of the Galaxies

Catch Pallas, the year's brightest asteroid, as it traverses the Virgo Galaxy Cluster.


The Closest Whiz-by of Toutatis

An asteroid several kilometers wide will brighten to 9th magnitude and be visible in small telescopes when it passes Earth in late September.

Celestial Objects to Observe

Flora and Herculina meet Saturn

While checking out Saturn and Titan in the next few months, don't overlook two nearby minor planets: 8 Flora and 532 Herculina.

Paths of Vesta and Uranus in late 2004


Spot Vesta (and Uranus)

Two solar-system bodies just below naked-eye brightness can be found with binoculars in eastern Aquarius on October and November evenings: the minor planet 4 Vesta and Uranus.

Celestial Objects to Observe

Five Asteroids Meet

There’s a rare imaging challenge in Leo this month for amateurs with CCD-equipped telescopes.


Asteroid Aurora Occults a Star

On the night of September 24–25, minor planet 94 Aurora will pass directly in front of the 5th-magnitude star Chi Geminorum, blocking its light for up to 7 seconds.

Path of Vesta in 2003


Vesta in Virgo

During April, Vesta has many close encounters with members of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster.

Asteroid 2002NY40

Celestial Objects to Observe

Catch Hermes on the Fly

Since 1937, Hermes has made eight unseen flybys past Earth. In late October, the asteroid will be 13th magnitude — bright enough to be seen in scopes 10-inches and larger.


Upcoming Asteroid Occultation

S&T illustration. A few minutes before 5:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 24th, the 170-kilometer-wide minor planet 334 Chicago passes in front of the 8.5-magnitude star SAO97327 in Gemini. The nominal path for this event crosses Philadelphia (at about 9:57 Universal Time) and continues westward across Lake Michigan, just…

Paths of Ceres and Melpomene

Celestial Objects to Observe

Ceres and Melpomene in Binoculars

With paths that crisscross in Cetus, the Whale, these two asteroids make fine observing targets for the rest of 2002.

Asteroid 2002 NY40


Asteroid Flyby Seen Worldwide

Last weekend's close encounter between Earth and asteroid 2002 NY40 was seen by amateur astronomers worldwide.

Roy Tucker

Celestial Objects to Observe

Asteroid Hunters Receive Grants

Five amateur astronomers specializing in the observation and early detection of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets were each awarded Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grants from the Planetary Society.

Path of 2002 NY40


A Close Encounter with an Asteroid

Over four weeks, the brightness of asteroid 2002 NY40 will brighten by more than 3,000 times. It will peak at magnitude 9.3 (bright enough to be seen through a small telescope or large binoculars) as it drifts rapidly through the northern Milky Way on the night of August 17–18. This…

Juno's irrgular shape


Juno Goes It Alone

Glimpsing Juno during the first half of 2002 will be a challenge.

Path of Vesta in early 2002.


Vesta Tours the Hyades

This spring, track the third-largest body in the asteroid belt as it passes by the Hyades.