posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Insomniac
Considering it's around 3,343,998 miles away and only measures 500 meters across, I think they did a marvelous job. Incidentally with membership you
get to use the telescope hooked up to your pc.
iTelescope.net is better; they give you all rights to the images without watermarks and access to the raw original FITS data, scientific quality
stuff. I have slooh as well for a backup in a pinch, but I'm going to cancel it because it's just not worth it for me. YMMV though, if you just
want jpg images and aren't into heavy duty data crunching, photometry and astrometry, then slooh is perfect, but if want the raw fits data for more
advanced purposes then itelescope.net is way better.
Nothing wrong with slooh's image of the asteroid though; no telescope on earth can resolve it as more than a point-like light source at that
distance. That's what asteroids look like, unfortunately. People get spoiled with images from probes that get to visit these things up close, but
from back here on earth that's what we see. For generations of astronomy that's all we ever saw and we had to infer the shapes of asteroids by
occultation timings across multiple locations. We figured out what they looked like using careful empirical study, but it wasn't until the dawn of
spaceflight that we ever got to see one up close for real.
I will say that I find it more exciting to see the asteroid move against the star field rather than directly tracking it like Slooh does. The latter
is more technologically challenging, but I could do it with this asteroid if I wanted. It's really simply a matter of personal preference for me,
but I think it's more natural to see the asteroid slowly moving across the field. I think most people can relate to it easier and it's therefore
more pleasing, so that's what I'm going to do later tonight. Speaking of which, it's time for me to start loading up my car with the equipment and
get on the road to start setting up at my observing site.