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In early June a new Supernova was discovered. A supernova is the end point of a massive star where the thermal fire at the core of the star runs out of fuel, ending its life in an extremely bright explosion (see our SpaceBook page on high-mass stars for more information). The supernova is outside of our galaxy in the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51. The galaxy is face on allowing observers to clearly see its beautiful spiral arms.
Our first 'homemade' camera, the Sinistro achieved first light on our 1-meter telescope in Santa Barbara last night. It was entirely designed by our optical and imaging engineers and was constructed in the LCOGT image lab. It has been 6 years in the making, so was a big relief for everyone on Team Sinistro, when the camera was mounted and took its first astronomical image (click on the inset image for a larger view).
On July 27, NASA announced the discovery of the first Trojan asteroid, designated 2010 TK7, which shares the Earth's orbit. It was initially spotted by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission on 2010 Oct 01 at a solar elongation close to 90 degrees and the near-Earth object was flagged on the NEO Confirmation Page shortly afterwards.
Nick Howes, equipment consultant for UK Magazine Astronomy Now, has been using the twin 2m Faulkes Telescope North and Faulkes Telescope South for a few years, on comet observation and measurement work, but in the past few months,
Once again, Richard Miles from British Astronomical Association's Asteroids and Comets section has glimpsed another fast rotating asteroid, called 2010 TD54. It is estimated that this asteroid is only 7 (+/-2) m in diameter. This asteroid is small and faint, but fortunately it is passing close to the earth at present allowing us a great view.
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Last night, the 0.4m telescope in the back parking lot (BPL) produced the first fully 'sequenced' observation with the new control system. The sequencer is the layer of software which sits on top of all the low-level telescope, instrument, and enclosure control systems and figures out what all needs to be done to accomplish an observation. It then 'sequences' those operations to satisfy their dependencies (e.g. don't start exposing until the enclosure is open) and sees them through to completion.
For the past week Richard Miles (BAA) has been following an as-yet unidentified object orbiting the Sun (dubbed 2010 KQ), using Faulkes Telescope North. Recent observations suggest it is a man-made object with an exciting past.