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Saturday1 November 20033:42pm MST2003-11-01 UTC 2317
Today's news Page status: done, updated 2 & 3 Nov.
Hermes

There are new articles about 1937 UB Hermes at Science News today and Science@NASA yesterday. See also Radar at right.

Pinged

68346 2001 KZ66, which has just been observed by radar (see at right), was discovered on 29 May 2001 with NEAT's telescope on Haleakala in Hawaii, and was subsequently located by Arno Gnadig of DANEOPS in archive images from 18 and 27 April of that year, and in plate scans from 28 December 1979 from the Siding Spring 1.2 U.K. Schmidt telescope (see a DANEOPS report). From its brightness, 68346 is estimated by standard formula to be on the order of one mile wide (1.6 km.).

Radar news

Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries a bunch of radar observations. Asteroid 68346 2001 KZ66 was observed by Arecibo in Puerto Rico on October 28th, two days before it came to within about 31 lunar distances of Earth. Arecibo's October 26th observation of 1937 UB Hermes is also reported, following those of the 18th. For more about these two objects, see at left, and see A/CC's "1937 UB Hermes Day-by-Day" for the whole Hermes story.

2003 TL4 is reported in the DOU to have been observed by Arecibo in the early afternoon of October 28th local time, followed four hours and 20 minutes later by Goldstone in southern California. This was the day that TL4 came within about 10.1 lunar distances of Earth. A "potentially hazardous" object that Arecibo also observed on the 25th, TL4 travels mostly inside Earth's orbit, and is roughly estimated from its optical brightness to be about 450 meters/yards wide. It was discovered by LINEAR in New Mexico on October 13th.

Radar observations of 2003 UC20 are reported from October 30th from Arecibo, which also caught it on the 28th. UC20 won't come to its closest approach until December 1st. It is believed to be a recovery of the briefly seen 1954 XA, and radar data could help prove or disprove that correlation. See more about this in the A/CC news archive.

Site newsWelcome to the new format for A/CC's "Major News About Minor Objects." The previous format, with news stacked for two-weeks running, worked well when there were just a few brief items each day, but it was becoming cumbersome as we went to more and longer news items, and it didn't work well with images and illustrations.

Something that the previous format had going for itself, however, was that news items could be posted quickly to the top of the news stack as soon as available without much concern for layout. A newsletter format implies holding back stories until they all can be pieced into a logical layout. So the rather experimental idea here will be to build each day's news layout publicly to keep the information flowing. In fact, layout changes will help signal new or changing news.

Each day's news page will become its own archive, and each article will have a permanent link from the moment it is posted. Meanwhile, the old news page is frozen here until its parts have been put into the old monthly archives.

2003 UX26 imaged 1 Nov. 2003 by Begues Obs.
Begues Observatory in Spain caught tiny asteroid 2003 UX26 this morning. See news below about objects with "impact solutions" removed today.
Parkes rejoins Deep Space Network
Parkes Obs. during upgrade work in March 2003
Parkes Observatory, west of Sydney, Australia, during upgrade work in March 2003. Photo by John Sarkissian, courtesy of CISRO.

When NASA's Stardust spacecraft flies past comet 81P/Wild 2 [link|alt] on the second day of 2004, it will be one of many missions sprinkled around the Solar System in need of communication with the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN), including several spacecraft at or approaching Mars. So Parkes Observatory in Australia has been recommisioned for temporary DSN participation, as told about in an article today at The Age, "The Dish again at NASA's cosmic service."

For its new job, Parkes [radio telescope] has been upgraded, quadrupling its electronic sensitivity in specific vital frequencies. Parts of the wire mesh dish have been replaced with aluminium panels and a new radio signal detector . . . has been installed. Parkes, which has no ability to send commands to the probes, will only listen to their signals. 

This is the same 64-meter (210-ft.) antenna through which the world watched the first walk on the Moon on 21 July 1969, subject of the movie, "The Dish," and told about in an observatory history.

For more information about new developments, see a page showing the antenna surface upgrade, and read a JPL September 8th Spotlight feature, "Lending an Improved Ear."

Parkes will be used to provide backup support for a large number of critical mission events and also to provide coverage for missions that would otherwise receive none during periods of conflicts. . .  The major improvement is adding a microwave system that allows for reception in the X-band frequency currently used by all JPL missions. . .  Better performance will also be achieved by extending the antenna's solid paneling by 10 meters (about 33 feet). 
2 November update:  Australian IT also has a report dated November 1st. It mentions the recent first-ever visit to the observatory by a U.S. ambassador to Australia, contrary to the movie, "The Dish." For more such discrepancies (e.g., there wasn't a power outage, and the observatory director's wife was alive and present), see Parke's Fact vs. Fiction page.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0026 UTC, 2 Nov

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2003 UX34JPL 11/1R E M O V E D
 2003 UX26JPL 11/1R E M O V E D
 2003 UQ25 NEODyS 11/12074-20741-6.25-6.2507.239
JPL 11/12074-20932-6.26-6.3407.239
 2003 UO12JPL 11/12067-20671-5.41-5.4109.326
 NEODyS 11/12067-20671-5.48-5.4809.326
 2003 UM3JPL 10/192008-210387-6.42-6.5801.011
 NEODyS 10/192008-207828-7.67-7.9701.011
 2003 TH2 NEODyS 11/12061-20652-5.98-6.20025.082
JPL 10/312061-20611-6.58-6.58025.082
VI = count of "virtual impactors" (impact solutions)
See A/CC's Consolidated Risk Tables for more and maybe
  newer details, and check the monitors' links for latest info.
Risk monitoring – 1 Nov.

The Saturday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2003 UX26 from Siding Spring Observatory from Thursday and from Begues Observatory in Spain this morning (see image above). Only JPL had listed this tiny object, and today removed it from the Current Risks page. 2003 UX34 observations are reported from the Whipple Observatory 1.2m telescope in Arizona from yesterday, and today JPL also removed this object.

The DOU has observation pairs for 2003 UO12 from Siding Spring Wednesday and Thursday, and from Whipple yesterday. Today NEODyS and JPL both slightly lowered their ratings for this low-rated object.

The big telescopes were also on top of 2003 UQ25, with Siding Spring reporting a pair of positions from Wednesday and a single from yesterday, while Whipple has a set from yesterday spanning 12 minutes. Today both monitors lowered their risk ratings for this object, while JPL also added an impact solution beyond the NEODyS time horizon.

As for 2003 TH2, today's DOU reports one pair of positions from Siding Spring from Wednesday. This doesn't extend the observing arc, but NEODyS did today bring back a low-rated 2061 impact solution.

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