Asteroid Occultations

If you wish to contribute your observations to the MAS group effort you can video tape the event using a VHS recorder or observe it visually and use a tape recorder. In either case, a short waved radio tuned to the time signal broadcast by WWV on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 mHz should be recorded on the sound track. Keep your comments short so we can hear the background radio station.

Also record your exact location (longitude, latitude and elevation above sea level). If this information is not available, note your position within about 20 feet relative to an intersection or landmark that can be found on a topographical map. The longitude, latitude and elevation above sea level can be latter determined from a topo map or by GPS. 

Using this information, we can determine the size and shape of the asteroid and deduce other things such as its composition, mass, etc. Not bad for looking through an eyepiece and speaking into your tape recorder. 

Asteroid may be observed from anywhere, but if you can get into the area of the predicted ground path of the asteroid go for it. Asteroid occultations which are predicted to miss the Milwaukee area are still worth observing because the predictions are often changed at the last minute due to new astrometry and also because many of the asteroids probably have moons or co-orbitals which luckily may occult the target star even if the main asteroid itself misses. In addition, a miss will help fix the asteroid's position. Do not let the faintness of some asteroids deter you from making occultation observations. In fact, it is better if the asteroid is too faint! It is easier to see the exact moment of occultation if you don't have to worry about watching two objects merge.