Last night I was lucky enough to get several hours of imaging time (including more 103P Hartley). I was browsing through some of the monthly DSO imaging challenges at CN and I was clearly not paying a lot of attention. A typo of NGC 700 (vs 7000) let me to spend hours imaging this galaxy cluster in Andromeda. I’m still working on processing this data, but there is clearly a mystery object!

NGC 700

NGC 700

While very noisy, the circled area is not a galaxy. Indeed – it shows up only as a star in the individual subframes, which means this object is moving. However, it didn’t move all too far during nearly two hours. I checked against Stellarium and don’t see any obvious candidates (satellites or otherwise).

Any ideas what this might be?

UPDATE: Mystery Solved! This is an asteroid, Maria. The Minor Planet Checker shows that near NGC 700′s coordinates we get:

The following objects, brighter than V = 20.0, were found in the 100.0-arcminute region around R.A. = 01 52.54, Decl. = +36 00.0 (J2000.0) on 2010 10 06.27 UT:

Object designation R.A. Decl. V Offsets Motion/hr Orbit Further observations?
h m s ° ' " R.A. Decl. R.A. Decl. Comment (Elong/Decl/V at date 1)

(170) Maria 01 53 18.9 +35 57 12 13.2 9.4E 2.8S 27- 2+ 38o None needed at this time.
(110985) 2001 UV191 01 53 20.5 +36 03 32 19.1 9.7E 3.5N 28- 2+ 6o None needed at this time.
(209930) 2006 BQ 01 54 05.2 +35 59 55 19.2 18.8E 0.1S 43- 19+ 7o None needed at this time.
(216478) 1999 TP207 01 54 51.5 +35 50 22 19.4 28.1E 9.6S 23- 0+ 7o None needed at this time.
(219264) 2000 AU155 01 53 04.7 +36 35 42 19.2 6.5E 35.7N 21- 3- 5o None needed at this time.
2010 OW110 01 49 14.3 +36 23 48 40.1W 23.8N 34- 1- 1d Leave for survey recovery.
2010 OL55 01 51 18.3 +36 50 12 19.9 15.0W 50.2N 34- 5+ V Direct recovery using small-field telescope probably impractical.
(250259) 2003 BM54 01 48 17.9 +35 44 24 19.4 51.5W 15.6S 26- 3+ 6o None needed at this time.
(6882) Sormano 01 55 53.8 +35 18 13 16.3 40.7E 41.8S 27- 3- 14o None needed at this time.
2010 OZ85 01 52 38.1 +34 54 15 19.3 1.1E 65.7S 31- 15+ 1d Leave for survey recovery.
2010 OV32 01 58 58.3 +35 59 53 19.8 78.0E 0.1S 23- 9+ 1d Leave for survey recovery.
(38035) 1998 QC85 01 57 10.4 +35 00 01 19.4 56.2E 60.0S 24- 0+ 12o None needed at this time.
2002 CW306 01 57 39.9 +34 58 40 19.9 62.2E 61.3S 17- 0- 4o Very desirable between 2010 Oct. 7-Nov. 6. (146.6,+35.0,19.9)
2001 XA17 01 45 08.9 +35 47 27 19.9 89.7W 12.5S 24- 1- 3o Desirable between 2010 Oct. 7-Nov. 6. (147.2,+35.8,19.9)
(249612) 1999 RD207 01 55 21.8 +34 26 41 19.1 34.3E 93.3S 26- 10+ 4o None needed at this time.

With a limiting magnitude of around 14 for the Televue NP101is, Maria is the only candidate that would match in magnitude.

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