Rosetta Spacecraft- Astronomy and astrophotography CCD camera images

The Rosetta spacecraft made a very high speed pass of our planet around 22:00UT on the 4th March 2005.

I had not any firm plans to try and image it, but after seeing some of my QCUIAG friends bemoaning the poor weather I decided I should have a go.

I decided to do this about 20:50UT. According to the ephemeris, I had to act quickly. By 21:10UT had had the scope setup and pointing at the part of the sky which I predicted Rosetta would cross in about 5 minutes time.

I was very happy to see it flash across my screen at 21:15UT. I repeated this ambush trick a few times, until solid cloud stopped anything else.

Note: I have noticed this morning that the imaging computer was running 6 seconds fast, so the times below should be adjusted.

Below are some AVI, but first, here is a single raw frame taken with my SC3 webcam @ 1000mm. FOV is roughly 16'x12'

04/03/2005 21:27:02


1.24s exposure

The single bright star in that image is in Skymap as Information about TYC 1378-847-1 Summary Visual magnitude: 8.98 Position information for 04 Mar 2005 21:31:19 JD: 2453434.39675 Apparent RA: 08h 21m 27.93s Apparent Dec: +16 14' 58.6" Names and Catalog Numbers Tycho catalog number: TYC 1378-847-1 PPM number: PPM 125156 DM number: BD +16 1698

My Obs Coordinates: 115'05.4''W, 5054'54.7''N

He is a stacked image at 2120UT


Remarkably, Adrian Jones in Maidenhead, UK, captured Rosetta at exactly the same time as me. Here is a mosaic of both images. Adrian's image is the bottom one, scaled to match my image at the top. My image was rotated to match.
In theory these images could be used to estimate the distance to Rosetta at this time. A rough calculation gives about 19500km, which is the right order of magnitude.

Here are a few AVI of the event. They are several MB each.

6 second exposures. Position = RA 08h 58' 59'' DEC +14d 27' 36'' Bright star =TYC 1378-847-1 Time = 2005-03-04 21:14:35UT to 21:15:15UT Download

1.2 second exposures. Position = RA 08h 45' 48'' DEC +15d 09' 29'' Time = 2005-03-04 21:19:51UT to 21:20:16UT Download

1.2 second exposures. Position = RA 08h 21' 29'' DEC +16d 13' 46'' Time = 2005-03-04 Time = 21:26:49UT to 21:27:13UT Download