“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever captured in my telescope,” says amateur astronomer Raymond Kneip.
Last night, he photographed Elon Musk’s cherry red Roadster 430,000 km from Earth heading toward the orbit of Mars.
NASA has just released an ephemeris (celestial coordinates) for the electric car, allowing astronomers to track and photograph the Tesla as it recedes into deep space.
Pictures of the Roadster and instructions for accessing NASA’s ephemeris may be found on today’s edition of Spaceweather.com.
STARMAN, 1 MILLION KILOMETERS AWAY: On Feb. 10, 2018, Enrico Pettarin of Farra dIsonzo, Italy, photographed Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster more than 1 million km from Earth “It was very faint,” says Pettarin, “shining in reflected sunlight like a 17th magnitude star, but I was able to photograph it using my 0.4-meter telescope.”
Launched on Feb. 6, 2018, by a Falcon Heavy Rocket at Cape Canaveral, the Roadster is traveling around the sun on an elliptical orbit that will take it beyond the orbit of Mars. Every day it is getting farther from Earth.
Other amateur astronomers around the world have also been photographing the distant electric car, piloted by a space-suited mannequin named “Starman.” At the moment, Pettarin holds the distance record. But stay tuned, because records are meant to be broken!