Welcome Saulo Machado
our new Asteroid Day Global Event Coordinator
Saulo Machado is joining the Asteroid Day team as the Global Event Coordinator. For the last three years he was the Regional Coordinator for Brazil. We were so impressed with his regional work we had to find a way to help him organize the world!
With a passion for astronomy and scientific dissemination, Saulo works as a business administrator in Fortaleza, Brazil. He is the Founder of the Astronomical Events Support Group (Gaea) and hosts Asteroid Day events in observatories, planetariums and astronomy groups throughout Brazil.
Saulo will be providing you, our coordinators, with helpful tips about events and activities about asteroids and will coordinate hosting virtual and local events worldwide. You can email him with any suggestions or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Time to Observe Asteroid Vesta
The first half of November will be the best time to observe asteroid 4 Vesta. Discovered by the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers in 1807, Vesta is the brightest asteroid in the Solar System when viewed from Earth.
Vesta will be in opposition to the Sun. It is during this period that it reaches its shortest distance from our planet. With an estimated brightness between the 6th and 7th magnitude, it is the best chance for a person to observe an asteroid with small instruments. Although Vesta is a small point, it is interesting to compare the brightness with other stars and members of the Solar System.
Oppositions of the asteroid Vesta occur about once every 16 months. In 2018, its last opposition took place in June, just 10 days from Asteroid Day. Many took the opportunity to show the asteroid to a large audience in real-time.
The 2019 opposition may be your new chance to test the event and check the reaction of your audience. By 2020 we will have no opposition, but by March 2021 Vesta will give you a new opportunity.
Smaller Asteroid Day events at other times of the year may have Vesta as an attraction. Remember that NASA’s Dawn spacecraft passed near Vesta a few years ago, obtaining wonderful photos.
Some suggestions for activities involving Vesta:
# 1 – Telescope or Binocular Observation – See astronomical software or applications for the position of the Vesta asteroid and track it. Use some observation sessions as training to shorten your time finding the asteroid. The In-The-Sky.org webpage is a good tip to help you locate Vesta, which even in times of opposition may not be visible to the naked eye. Their sky maps with asteroid Vesta’s location can be found here and here.
# 2 – Exposure – To spice up your event, exposing some photos of Vesta taken by the Dawn mission may be a good idea. The public will be able to learn about its format and composition, as well as compare the images of a closely watched asteroid (by the Dawn spacecraft) with the real-time view of the same asteroid seen from Earth.
# 3 – Lecture / Debate – “What would happen if a Vesta-sized asteroid collided with Earth?”, “How big would the destruction be?”, “What kind of planetary defense is necessary to deflect or prevent it from happening if a Vesta-sized asteroid comes toward Earth?” These are some questions that can be explored in a lecture or debate.
# 4 – Live Webcasting of Vesta Images – A telescope can broadcast real-time asteroid images while narrating about the celestial body. Experts on the subject can be invited to teach or give precious live information.
# 5 – Cultural Presentations – Vesta is the name of a goddess of Roman mythology. Some mythological episodes can be turned into theatrical performances by young students. A comparison with mythologies from other regions of the world can be made.
Let’s meet Vesta? Organize your asteroid event! Don’t forget to register your event.
Good events to all,