It’s been a while since the last update on all the activities at the observatory. I will try not to get so far behind next time, but it has been a very busy couple of months. The best place to start would be an update on the asteroid survey in support of the Minor Planet Center. As of today SVO has observed, tracked and submitted data on 226 individual asteroids. Many of those being non threatening main belt types. However more recently, attention has been turned towards hazardous near earth asteroids and providing confirmation of pending new discoveries. The projects tab on this page will allow the viewing of an online spreadsheet for all observations and their MPC listings.
Of recent importance was the submission of data that helped confirm three previously unknown asteroids. Two of these were Apollo type near earth objects, 2017 BN92 and 2017BQ6 which has been identified as a potentially hazardous asteroid. SVO W34 along with V03 Big Water was also directly responsible for the recovery of the main belt asteroid 2071 CR4 which had been seen previously by the big sky surveys but lacked the sufficient data to tie down its orbit. SVO W34 and V03 Big Water filled in the blanks.
Between asteroid tracking, I have started to test the ASI1600mm cameras imaging capabilities. It is promising but the learning curve is a little different than that of a normal ccd camera . I did manage a fairly nice image of M1, the crab nebula. I hope that it will start to shine when I mount it to the 5 inch refractor.
The software testing for the Swedish Meteor Network continues. Progress is being made and I expect the all sky camera to provide first images soon. There have been bumps in the road, the current one is an apparently dead raspberry pi unit that will either be replaced or repaired. I have required the assistance of a local Linux expert to help push things through on my end.
On the outreach front, the after school outreach program for Polk Central Elementary School will be starting soon. SVO is also pushing for funding of purchasing safe solar eclipse glasses for every student and faculty member of PCES. Hopefully we will know something soon on that front.
SVO has also been in contact with the Polk County Beautification Committee about the importance of non evasive night lighting and the detrimental effects of “blue light”.
And lastly an interview with myself about Squirrel Valley Observatory and it’s primary functions was recently published in a local magazine,”Life in Our Foothills” It can be viewed online here…. https://issuu.com/tryondailybulletin/docs/liof_feb_2017-web