Finder Chart showing the position of asteroid 4 Vesta at 5-day intervals from May through to early August 2018 (click on the thumbnail for the full-size image). This is the period during which the asteroid was technically visible to the naked-eye (i.e. brighter than apparent magnitude +6.5). Saturn was also in the vicinity and its path is shown over the same period (marked on the 1st day of each month). A Southern hemisphere view of the chart can be found here and a printer-friendly (greyscale) version can be obtained for Northern and Southern hemisphere views.
Vesta moved through North-western Sagittarius and South-eastern Ophiuchus during this period, positioned North and West of the star Polis (1 Sgr or Mu-1 Sagittarii, mag. +3.8v) and North-east of the star Oph (Theta Ophiuchi, mag. +3.2).
Vesta reached opposition to the Sun (its closest point to the Earth, when it shone at its brightest for the year) on June 19th 2018, when it was 1.141 Astronomical Units (170.7 million kms or 106 million miles) from the Earth. Vesta then shone at magnitude +5.3, the brightest it had been since June of 1989.
The faintest stars shown on the chart have a magnitude of about +7.3. Astronomical co-ordinates of Right Ascension (longitude, measured Eastwards in hrs:mins) and Declination (latitude, measured in degrees North or South of the celestial equator) are marked around the border of the chart.
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Copyright Martin J Powell February 2018