|Friday||7 November 2003||11:25am MST||2003-11-07 UTC 1825|
Arkansas event: An item yesterday at WMC-TV Memphis reports that "A soybean field in Palestine Arkansas may hold the key to a mystery in Monday night's sky," with an "odd looking rock" found "embedded in the ground surrounded by loose dirt" and having "characteristics of a meteorite." For more about this, see A/CC's first report.
Distant object news: The November 2003 issue number 32 of Distant EKOs was posted yesterday. It includes announcements for two meetings next year, in Kentucky and Singapore, and abstracts for a number of papers such as these two available for purchase from Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP): "An Optical Survey of the Active Centaur C/NEAT (2001 T4)" (abstract) and "Constraining Recovery Observations for Trans-Neptunian Objects with Poorly Known Orbits" (abstract).
BepiColumbo: ESA announced yesterday that it has canceled the 2008 Eddington planet finder and astroseismology mission, and had removed the lander component from the BepiColumbo Mercury mission, but that still leaves two BepiColumbo orbiters to launch in 2011. This mission's online Fact Sheet (dated July 2003) includes as one mission objective, "Detection of potentially Earth-threatening asteroids." This would be done with a telescope on one of the orbiters looking back toward Earth's orbit for NEOs that can't be seen from Earth's surface because they are always in the Sun's glare. This is explained in an April 2002 news item, "European Space Agency to probe asteroid blind spot." Space.com has a report today about ESA's financial situation.
Eclipse: A total lunar eclipse begins at 2332 UTC tomorrow night, as explained in a November 4th Science@NASA item, which gives times by U.S. time zone, and there's more info at Space.com today. This is an observing opportunity for those involved in the painstaking watch for lunar meteor impacts.
According to an announcement yesterday, there may be no Daily Orbit Update MPECs "over the full-moon period" while the DOU production software is being rewritten and tested (and, at last check, there hasn't been a DOU posted today). This was explained yesterday in the same news item that also reported newly discovered kilometer-class NEO 2003 VF1. Today NEODyS added that object to its Risk page.
Today the European Spaceguard Central Node removed its observing campaign for 2003 TH2. This small object has now had all of its impact solutions eliminated, and its orbit has been well calculated, thanks to both extensive optical observation and a successful second attempt at radar observation.