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Old 17-07-2021, 04:30 PM
benmontet (Ben)
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Occultation observations of C/2014 UN271 Bernardinelli-Bernstein

Hi everyone,

You might have heard about the "mega comet" C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) heading towards the Sun from the Oort cloud.

On the morning of 19 September at 2:45am, this comet is will occult a 16th magnitude star. While the uncertainty on the path of the occultation is large, the current best estimate is that the event will be visible in a line roughly between Brisbane, Sydney, and Hobart.

This event will last for ~6 seconds but taking observations of the occultation is perhaps the best way for several years for us to determine the size of this comet, which may be in the 100-370km range.

Would anyone on this forum be interested---should lockdowns allow us---in observing this event on this night and participating in the science that will come out of this occultation? What is required is a telescope, the sensitivity to measure photometry of a star with r=15.5, and the ability to record data at least at 5fps, though >10fps is preferred. Some details on what tools might be useful are available here: https://britastro.org/node/16423

Do let me know if you have any questions; please feel free to forward this ask to anyone in the flight path, which at present includes the eastern third of NSW and VIC, the ACT, and especially Tasmania. In the next few weeks the uncertainty on the path will decrease, providing a better estimate of who might be best suited to participate.

Thank you!
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:55 PM
benmontet (Ben)
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Hi all,

With updated astrometry, we now have a better idea of the path of this comet. While we have a few observers interested in helping, we are still looking for observers along the south coast of NSW, far Eastern Victoria and Tasmania. If this is you, please reach out to me!

If you are worried about observing at a high frame rate, there are alternatives such as a drift-scan approach, where you turn off telescope tracking and the occultation duration can be measured through a measurement of the number of pixels over which the star disappears.

If you think you might be able to help but have technical questions, please get in touch.

Thank you!
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Old 15-08-2021, 10:34 AM
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tonybarry (Tony)
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Hi Ben,

The RASNZ (TTOA) has this event in its sights; if you subscribe to OccultWatcher it should come up soon.

Regards,
Tony Barry
WSAAG
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Old 24-08-2021, 08:10 PM
benmontet (Ben)
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Fantastic news! Let me know if there's any help I can provide for you all, hopefully we'll get as many angles on this comet as possible.
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