Article by: Daragh Logue, Peter McCormick, Ciaran McCaffrey
Assisted By: Maria Buckland, Sarah Bell, Adam McAfee
The Observatory and Planetarium has welcomed school students to visit for work experience. A previous Astronotes article described our work with the Faulkes Telescope Project. Below is an account written by three of our work experience students in 2018 March, based on the work done at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium by them and three other students.
We observed asteroid 2017 VR12. This is a 100-160m wide asteroid which rotates once every 1.4 hours. Under certain conditions it is seen (based on its shape) to look like a cat. It is of great interest to astronomers as it crosses earth’s orbit making it a very near earth asteroid – its closest approach was four times the distance to the moon on the 7th of March 2018. It is believed to originate from one of the largest bodies in the asteroid belt, Vesta. Our results, in which we measured the change in position with time, were submitted to the Minor Planet Centre which is administrated by the International Astronomical Union.
Above is an image of the near-Earth asteroid 2017 VR12. The nature of its appearance is ...