Astronomy Index - Locators Index

Locating Vesta

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Details and acknowledgements

Photograhing Vesta
Photo: Graeme Knight

  • The photographs were taken around 8:00 pm on Tuesday 7th August at Eaglehawk Secondary College by particpants in the Bendigo District Astronomy Society's Astronomy Course.
  • The camera used was 8 megapixel 7x optical zoom digital camera, mounted on a tripod. The camera was set to manual mode and focused on infinity. The exposure time was 30 seconds. A wide angle image and a image at close to maximum zoom were taken.
  • The star chart screens were generated by the freeware planetarium program, Stellarium. There is a link to the home page below.
  • The images were examined with the freeware image viewer/editor, FastStone. The images were cropped. They were enhanced to emphasise fainter objects. Constellation figures and labels were added.
  • Stellarium was used to identify the stars and Vesta.


Vesta is the second most massive asteroid. It is about 530 km across and is estimated to contain about 9% of the mass of the asteroid belt. Its size and unusually bright surface make Vesta the brightest asteroid, and the only one visible to the naked eye from Earth. Vesta takes 3.6 years to complete an orbit. Its orbit is more eccentric than Earth's. This time, Earth is passing Vesta as it moves through perihelion.

Vesta details from: Wikipedia - 4 Vesta
Orbit diagram by Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher
10th August 2007