The asteroid 2012 DA14 was captured by FRAM telescope in Argentina,
remotely operated by Martin Masek from Europe, on the night from
February 14th to 15th, 2013. Asteroid distance
from Earth was 450,000 km, pretty far compared to lowest distance of only
28,000 km during its
closest approach to Earth the following night (the 2012 DA14 diameter
is only around 30 m). The image bellow is
a sum of twenty exposures, each only 10 seconds long. The asteroid itself was used as a
reference point during stacking of individual images, so background
stars appear as short lines.
2012 DA14 on co-added exposure captured by FRAM
This particular image was the first one captured with FRAM
operating within the European project GLORIA (GLObal
Robotic-telescopes Intelligent Array). So the image was published by
numerous media, including NASA web site, the Guardian newspaper and various
online magazines all over the world.
Animation below shows motion of the asteroid, this time with stars
fixed. 2012 DA14 is the small black dot (individual frames are
inverted to negative) moving in the center of the image.
2012 DA14 animation shows its movement among background
stars (vertical strike on one frame is a trace of some artificial
The FRAM telescope itself is 12 inch
(305 mm) f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain
telescope with 0.66× reducer on
Paramount ME mount, equipped with G2-1600 scientific camera with
internal filter wheel and UBVRI photometric filters. There are also
200 mm photographic lens for wide field
imaging, only recently upgraded with wide field G4-16000 camera and
EFW4-5 filter wheel and UBVRI filters, and a guiding telescope with
G1-0300 camera piggybacked on the main OTA. The whole setup is
controlled by RTS2
FRAM robotic telescope with equipped G1, G2 and G4 CCD
Images of 2012 DA14 courtesy of Martin Masek
(GLORIA/FRAM/Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of
This article is based on text by Michael Prouza (Institute of Physics of the Czech
Academy of Sciences).
Another article about FRAM on this web site.