Nice thing about AZ observing

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tfwthom

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You get the news as it happens.....This in my inbox tonight........Comet 114P/Wiseman-Skiff <br /><br /> This one seems to be spreading fast on the Web; our PR guy asked<br />whether I could supply a quote. This was indeed found by Jennifer Wiseman,<br />an MIT undergrad at the time. Each January we host a group of MIT students<br />working on geophysics/planetary science degrees. On this occasion (18 years<br />ago!), the Moon was going to be bright during their stay, so I took<br />a bunch of plates (this is back in the days when the observing was done<br />with the Pluto Camera) over the holidays that we saved for a student<br />to scan on our blink machine. Well, the first morning we set Jennifer<br />to work, showing her some known asteroids on a plate-pair so she'd<br />know what to look for and how to mark them. We left her alone and went<br />back to our offices. Within half an hour she was back saying apprehensively <br />that we better come have a look because she found this very fuzzy asteroid....<br /> This immediately presented a problem since it had been three weeks<br />since the plates were taken, and there would be no announcement without<br />a second night. There was no cadre of amateurs around the world as there is<br />now who could do the follow-up, so it was up to us. Ted Bowell made the<br />best prediction he could (again, much less sophisticated than could be<br />done now with the same data), and Jennifer and I went out the same night<br />and got some more plates in hopes of the best. We came right back to<br />Mars Hill, developed the plates (an unanticipated lesson for Jennifer about<br />darkroom procedure), and put them on the blink comparator. It was "only"<br />a degree and a half off target, well within the 6x9-deg field of the Pluto<br />Camera plates.<br /> Jennifer was a final-semester senior at the time, and had not come up<br />with a (required) thesis project, much less actually done anything about it;<br />this of course was a b <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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