GAIA at 300,000 km

From: William Keel (
Date: Sat Dec 21 2013 - 22:28:27 UTC

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    I followed Gaia for about 30 minutes early today UT, using the 0.6m  
    remotely-operated SARA telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile. It
    showed up within a couple of arcminutes of the prelaunch Paris Obs.  
    predictions for nearby La Serena. Most notably, it's become much
    fainter after the sunshade went into its nominal orientation (email  
    from a couple of team members in Heidelberg suggests that
    this was expected). Calibrating on Landolt standard stars, I got an R- 
    band (red) magnitude of 17.5 from 0121-0141 UT
    on 21 December (low in the sky before moonrise, from about 20-30  
    degrees elevation). One of the images was Tweeted in
    raw form at
    Bill Keel
    William C. Keel                                        205-348-1641  
    Professor, Physics and Astronomy      205-348-5051 (fax)
    Box 870324                                              205-348-5050  
    University of Alabama                   
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0324, U.S.A.
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