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Gaia in the Sky - An Urgent Request

Electronic bulletin number
788
Issued on
2014 Feb 25 - 15:54

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BAA electronic bulletin
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An urgent observing request has been posted by Stefan Jordan and Martin Altmann of the Univ. of Heidelberg, Germany, concerning the recently-launched Gaia space observatory, which is now stationed some 1.5 million km from the Earth at the Lagrangian L2 point.

In particular, the need is for continuous unfiltered time-series of images be taken of Gaia tomorrow (Wednesday, February 26) starting at say 11:50 UTC through to 12:15 UTC. The target is currently mag 20.0-20.5 but starting at 11:58 UTC the observatory will be turned so that it is expected to brighten by up to 5 magnitudes by 12:07 UTC possibly attaining mag 15. A lightcurve depicting the form of the brightening vs. time would be an excellent result as this is a matter of great interest to the engineers overseeing Gaia.

If you miss this manoeuvre, then a second reverse one is planned for Thursday, February 27 starting at 09:06 UTC and completing at 09:16 UTC; so coverage between say 09:00-09:25 UTC would be very good on that occasion. Those data can be equally valuable.

These observing windows are during the day as seen from the UK and Europe. Nevertheless, observations from the night of February 26/27 would also be very interesting. Alternatively, scheduling remote observations via a robotic telescope would enable one to capture either or both of the manoeuvering events.

Gaia's ephemerides can be obtained at http://gaiainthesky.obspm.fr/fov/ .

Please send observations to Martin Altmann ( ) and Stefan Jordan ( ), copy myself.

Thank You and Good Luck,

Richard Miles ( )
Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section
British Astronomical Association

2014 February 25 15:54
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