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Posted by Nick James at 19:54 on 2013 Dec 20
The guys involved with the Gaia Ground Based Optical Tracking project have been using these images to calibrate their brightness model for the spacecraft. They are keen to get more optical observations since Gaia is now near the phase angle that it will have at L2. This will allow them to predict the final magnitude more accurately. For us, the spacecraft is well placed in the northern part of Orion, on the border with Taurus. It’s about twice as far away tonight so I would guess that it would be around mag 12 based on last night’s observation.The weather doesn’t look good for me tonight. If anyone does manage to get some mag estimates tonight then please post them here and I’ll forward them on.Nick.