Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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Asteroid 1981 Midas, 19 March 2018

Asteroid 1981 Midas was discovered on 06 March 1973 by Charles Kowal at Palomar Observatory. It was named after King Midas from Greek mythology.

On 19 March 2018, the object appeared at magnitude 12, at a distance of 15m km, moving at 20 arcsec/minute at an altitude of around 80°. (All figures are approximate!) I captured the images below.

The LH frame is a composite of approximately two hundred 10 s sub-frames. The stars appear faint in each frame and the motion of Midas looks slightly uneven, as if the exposures were not equally spaced. The RH frame is a composite of ten 180 s sub-frames: this time the stars appear much stronger but the auto-guider was following a faint star with a 3 s integration time resulting in a crinkly appearance to the motion of Midas.

Midas will remain visible for several days more, with closest approach on the evening of 21 March 2018.

20180319_1981Midas_NSE_10s.jpg 10 s frames.

20180319_1981Midas_NSE_180s.jpg 180 s frames.

Nigel Evans