Vesta and Ceres conjunction

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One of the reasons why I have built The Sky Live, and in particular the ‘live tracker’ feature using real deep sky photos from DSS, was to be able to easily spot interesting and beautiful juxtapositions of Solar System objects and other deep space objects, like a comet passing close to a galaxy, a globular cluster, or an interesting star field.

Recently I have been contacted by an user who observed some discrepancies between the position coordinates The Sky Live is reporting for Vesta and Ceres, when compared to other popular sky chart software like Cartes du Ciel.

While I was analyzing the position for Vesta to understand what was going on,I realized that the two asteroids were close enough to be captured within a single image by one of the telescopes I commonly use at the iTescope.net service. Also two small  galaxies (NGC 5183 and NGC 5184) were in the background, together with a large number of other much fainter ones. Below is a screenshot of the live sky chart for Vesta the evening of July 4 2014.

Vesta and Ceres live tracker

Vesta and Ceres though the ‘live tracker’ feature

Despite of the fact that the Moon was very close to the subjects (see how that evening the three bodies looked like in the Planetarium view) I decided to take a couple of pictures using the T7 telescope in Spain, a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph and then stacked them to obtain the final image below.

Vesta and Ceres conjunction on Jul 4 2014

Vesta and Ceres conjunction on Jul 4 2014

While the quality of this image is not exceptional due to the not ideal conditions and short exposure time, I found interesting taking this portrait of Vesta and Ceres with a nice touch of the two apparently small galaxies in the background.

This image also helped confirming that the coordinates I am providing through this service were quite accurate.

I would like to say thank you to all the people who are sending suggestions and feedback about how to improve this service. Please continue sending your ideas through the feedback form, I will do my best to implement them.