Imaging the Space Tesla

🖊️ 🔖 astronomy 💬 0

Back in the beginning of February SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket to much fanfare and excitement. This test launch also had a test payload: Starman, a mannequin in a prototype SpaceX space suit behind the wheel of a cherry red Tesla Roadster. Spaceman was successfully inserted into a heliocentric orbit and there he’ll remain for millions of years.

For a few days Spaceman was close enough to earth to be visible by professional grade telescopes. As an employee of a company that builds and deploys a network of robotic telescopes I had to see if I could get an image of this guy.

Dr. Tim lister and I both set up observations, but of course Tim’s (who studies near earth objects) came back in better quality. I did some stacking and scaling and ended up with a .gif. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Starman in 9 parts:

Starman GIF

The image consists of 9x32 second exposures on one of our 1 Meter telescopes in Cerro Tololo, Chile. The images were captured around 2018-02-09 08:43 UTC.

See if you can find the faintly visible galaxy in the top left corner of the image.

Godspeed, Starman.