NEAR Observed from Austin, Texas

Sue J. Worden (
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 02:26:13 -0600 (CST)

Just a quick note here.  Mike McCants had his recorder going with
WWV and (I assume) will post more exact data later.  Ed Cannon
first picked up NEAR in a 12.5 inch newtonian about 14 minutes
before our scheduled flash, confirmed by Mike shortly thereafter.
Mike, Ed, I, and one of Mike's sons all observed variations in
brightness over the following 12 minutes, seeming to correspond
with scheduled flashes at other locations.  At that point, I was
able to pick it up in 10x50 binoculars and tracked it throughout
the "flash" -- a gradual brightening followed by a more rapid
dimming.  It was also easy naked eye at the peak, but less bright
than had been predicted -- about mag 2.  Mike also took photos.

The skies here tonight were *beautiful* after the clouds cleared
out.  Following NEAR, we couldn't resist looking at a few other
things before heading back. :-)

I want to add my thanks to those who provided the ephemerides
and finder charts on the web for this event and got the word
out to everyone.  I wouldn't have missed this for anything!

--Sue Worden (