What is this object?

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geckzilla
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What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:38 pm

When I do processing for Hubble objects I often use data from several years apart. I see a lot of things that move slightly, like planetary nebulas expanding and more noticeable things like puffs of gas from HH objects. Parallax causes slight movement of stars sometimes. This one moved a lot more than things I've previously noticed, though. A whole three pixels. Usually things stick to the sub-pixel movements.

Anyway, these images are from observations of NGC 2371. The hover images are both WFPC2 data and they are 12 years apart, the first being from 1995 and the second from 2007. I'm sure it's not some kind of artifact. It's also present in some raw ACS/WFC data from 2009 which I'm not sure whether it's corrected for geometric distortion but I included the image anyway with it lined up as best I could. Not a lot of movement between the 2007 and 2009 observations.

I thought it could be some kind of trans-Neptunian object but when I compared it to those I realized it moves a lot more slowly. So maybe it is just a nearby star and the movement is just parallax. I'm sure the HLA is full of hopelessly dim little oddities like this.

WFPC2
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
ACS/WFC
Image
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Beyond » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:42 am

One of those single wandering stars??
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Re: What is this object?

Post by wonderboy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:18 pm

doesnt look to have moved, unless im missing something!
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:39 pm

It's the little dot in the lower left part of the frame. The main star of the nebula is kind of pointing to it in the hover image.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by neufer » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:44 pm

wonderboy wrote:
doesnt look to have moved, unless im missing something!
Geckzilla's first image is an overlay with which you can move your cursor back & forth to see the movement.

What is intriguing is that the star movement is away from the central star just as
if the formation of the strange nebula had ejected enough material to release an orbiting star.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:56 pm

It'd have to be moving very quickly if it's something local to NGC 2371! Much faster than the material in the nebula itself, which can also be observed expanding slightly in the mouseover set.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by neufer » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:11 pm

geckzilla wrote:
It'd have to be moving very quickly if it's something local to NGC 2371!
Much faster than the material in the nebula itself, which can also be observed expanding slightly in the mouseover set.
Faster than the material in the nebula currently
but not faster than the nebula over it's lifetime since it still lies inside the nebula.

I admit that it is a long shot but it is curious nonetheless.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:35 pm

geckzilla wrote:When I do processing for Hubble objects I often use data from several years apart. I see a lot of things that move slightly, like planetary nebulas expanding and more noticeable things like puffs of gas from HH objects. Parallax causes slight movement of stars sometimes. This one moved a lot more than things I've previously noticed, though. A whole three pixels. Usually things stick to the sub-pixel movements.

Anyway, these images are from observations of NGC 2371. The hover images are both WFPC2 data and they are 12 years apart, the first being from 1995 and the second from 2007. I'm sure it's not some kind of artifact. It's also present in some raw ACS/WFC data from 2009 which I'm not sure whether it's corrected for geometric distortion but I included the image anyway with it lined up as best I could. Not a lot of movement between the 2007 and 2009 observations.

I thought it could be some kind of trans-Neptunian object but when I compared it to those I realized it moves a lot more slowly. So maybe it is just a nearby star and the movement is just parallax. I'm sure the HLA is full of hopelessly dim little oddities like this.
I'm more curious about the streak from the bright star pointing towards your little moving object. And do you have links to the FITS files? JPEGs aren't very amenable to analysis.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:20 pm

Oh, the streak is one of the more annoying anomalies common for WFPC2 data. Any bright point source gets a kind of comet-like tail in the readout direction. See page 25.
Or, if you don't want to download a whole PDF, a quick, single sentence explanation here. (point number 10)
Due to declining charge transfer efficiency (CTE), bright objects and artifacts (e.g. stars and cosmic rays) may have prominent comet-like tails of deferred charge in the anti-readout direction.
Here are the FITS files.
http://www.geckzilla.com/astro/NGC2371.rar

List of files inside:

1995 / Bond (6119 is the proposal ID)
hst_06119_08_wfpc2_f555w_pc_sci.fits
hst_06119_08_wfpc2_f555w_wf_sci.fits

2007 / Noll
hst_11093_03_wfpc2_f555w_wf_sci.fits

2009 / Wade (This is the raw one. Nicer resolution, though)
jb5724020_drz.fits



Additional FITS files and of course individual exposures are also all immediately available through the HLA simply by typing NGC 2371 into the search box.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:46 pm

geckzilla wrote:Oh, the streak is one of the more annoying anomalies common for WFPC2 data. Any bright point source gets a kind of comet-like tail in the readout direction.
Ah. I understand this characteristic of CCDs very well. I overlooked that the mouseover image was a rotated composite, so the angle of the smear is what got my attention. Now I see it is lined up with the physical array, and so makes sense.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by BDanielMayfield » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:36 pm

neufer wrote:What is intriguing is that the star movement is away from the central star just as
if the formation of the strange nebula had ejected enough material to release an orbiting star.
Is it possible that Art’s suggestion is correct, that this is a former part of the star system which has been released?

Wikipedia lists the distance to NGC 2371 as being 4400 light years. How much distance would “three pixels” equate to?
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:21 am

Well, a WFPC2 pixel is 0.0455" wide so I guess you could throw 4400 in for two sides of a triangle and 3.7917×10^-5° for your one angle and figure that it moved 0.0029118 light years over about 12 years but it's all so much guessing...
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:30 am

geckzilla wrote:Well, a WFPC2 pixel is 0.0455" wide so I guess you could throw 4400 in for two sides of a triangle and 3.7917×10^-5° for your one angle and figure that it moved 0.0029118 light years over about 12 years but it's all so much guessing...
I'd guess it's just a foreground star. A proper motion of 11 mas/yr isn't at all unusual- not even close to the fastest moving stars.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by neufer » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:32 am

geckzilla wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
neufer wrote:
What is intriguing is that the star movement is away from the central star just as
if the formation of the strange nebula had ejected enough material to release an orbiting star.
Is it possible that Art’s suggestion is correct, that this is a former part of the star system which has been released?

Wikipedia lists the distance to NGC 2371 as being 4400 light years. How much distance would “three pixels” equate to?
Well, a WFPC2 pixel is 0.0455" wide so I guess you could throw 4400 in for two sides of a triangle and 3.7917×10^-5° for your one angle and figure that it moved 0.0029118 light years over about 12 years but it's all so much guessing...
Just 73 km/s :!:

It could well be a runaway star then, IMO.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:58 am

If I buy a book on astrometry and put it under my pillow I'll know how to do this in the morning, right?
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Re: What is this object?

Post by neufer » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:44 am

geckzilla wrote:
If I buy a book on astrometry and put it under my pillow I'll know how to do this in the morning, right?
  • Do what?
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<<[Alexander the Great] was naturally a great lover of all kinds of learning and reading; and Onesicritus informs us that he constantly laid Homer's Iliads, according to the copy corrected by Aristotle, called the casket copy, with his dagger under his pillow, declaring that he esteemed it a perfect portable treasure of all military virtue and knowledge.>>
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Re: What is this object?

Post by rstevenson » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:24 pm

geckzilla wrote:If I buy a book on astrometry and put it under my pillow I'll know how to do this in the morning, right?
I think you have to open it to the correct page before putting it under your pillow. Meme transfer can't get through the hardcovers, so you need to reduce the barriers to be able to absorb knowledge this way. Or buy a softcover book, I guess.

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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:01 pm

neufer wrote:Do what?
Figure out how far the stupid little blip is, even though it's probably completely mundane. :)
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:06 pm

geckzilla wrote:
neufer wrote:Do what?
Figure out how far the stupid little blip is, even though it's probably completely mundane. :)
No amount of astrometry can determine that. At best, it can place bounds on the distance- in this case, such wide bounds as to be practically useless. More information is required than just the proper motion.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:11 pm

Aw.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:13 pm

geckzilla wrote:Aw.
However, had you actually slept on that astrometry tome, you'd know that. :)
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Beyond » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:18 pm

Hey Chris, how'd you sneak that key-board smilie past the computer :?: Every time i type : and add )... it gives me this :)
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Re: What is this object?

Post by neufer » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:19 pm

geckzilla wrote:
neufer wrote:Do what?
Figure out how far the stupid little blip is, even though it's probably completely mundane. :)
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Re: What is this object?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:22 pm

Beyond wrote:Hey Chris, how'd you sneak that key-board smilie past the computer :?: Every time i type : and add )... it gives me this :)
He has "Disable smilies" checked in the Options box below the full editor.
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Re: What is this object?

Post by Beyond » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:25 pm

Ah... never thought of that. Thanks, even if i don't remember it. :)))))))
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