Open Position: Director of the Institute

The Section of Mathematical Sciences of the Romanian Academy announces an Open Position for the Director of the Astronomical Institute. Visit the Romanian Academy web page for more details.

Astronomical Institute
Apophis orbit

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Apophis

The Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (99942) Apophis was observed during the interval: 18:09:36 – 23:46:14 UTC 03/04.03.2021 at the Astronomical Observatory Cluj-Napoca, Feleacu Station. The asteroid was as a distance of only 0.1187 AU, just 2 days before the close approach to Earth due 2021.03.06. This is the last favorable opportunity for observing Apophis before its closest approach of 2029.04.13.9 at a distance of just 0.0002541 AU. An impact with Earth on 2029 is completely excluded.

The telescope used was a PlaneWave Instruments CDK 24” (D=610 mm, F/D=6.5), currently the largest Romanian telescope. The detector was a SBIG STL 6303 CCD camera (3072x2048 pixels, 9x9 micron/pixel) using VRI Johnson-Cousins filters. The exposure time for each filter was 25 sec. The movie stretches 10 R filter exposures per second (resulting in a 17 second movie for more than 5.5 hours of observations).

Astrometric and photometric data on (99942) Apophis is recorded during this close approach from Feleac and Berthelot Observatories on every clear night.

Apophis seen from Feleac Observatory
Apophis seen from Berthelot Observatory

Contact: vladturcu (at) academia-cj.ro, sonka (at) astro.ro

Spectacular fireball above Romania

A spectacular fireball was detected by the Meteorite Orbits Reconstruction by Optical Imaging network (MOROI) in the morning of 3rd of March, 2021, at 05:58 local time (03:58:39 UT). The bolide flared over Suceava county for 5 seconds, reaching a maximum stellar magnitude of -11 (+/- 1). The meteor brightness matched that of the Moon, which was 85% illuminated at the time.

As seen from the city of Suceava, the object traveled from West towards East, displaying fragmentation features in the second half of the atmospheric path. Four other stations in Romania have detected the bolide. From Bacău and Bârlad, the frames during the maximum brightness were saturated, while data from Baia Mare station (250km away) allowed a proper measurement of luminosity, due to the higher extinction close to the horizon. Investigations for trajectory and orbit reconstruction are underway.

Currently, MOROI network is in the process of integration with the international FRIPON network (Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network). The end goal is to fill the gaps between asteroid and meteorite science, by studying the meteoroid interactions with atmosphere, and computing the location where the surviving fragments might land.

contact: simon.anghel (at) astro.ro

Spectacular fireball above Romania
Solar active region NOAA 12776

Solar Active Region Observed from AIRA

The first active region of the solar cycle 25 was observed on December 20, 2016. The minimum activity period between solar cycle 24 and the current cycle was approximately double compared to other similar periods.
After almost 4 years, solar cycle 25 is picking up pace!
The active region NOAA 12776 became visible on October 15 and passed the western solar limb on October 27. In the right-hand side image this region is observed by the Bucharest Observatory on October 21 when it was situated at 14° southern latitude and 45° western longitude. On October 24, a B2.3 class flare initiated from this region was recorded by GOES.
Between October 27 and November 2 another active region (NOAA 12778) was visible on the Sun and generated several C-class flares.
The solar activity as seen in the sunspot number, the number and intensity of flares, as well as other eruptive phenomena, will constantly increase over the next few years.
Today we can see two active regions on the Sun and the sunspot number is 21.

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