Sunday8 August 20045:49pm MDT2004-08-08 UTC 2349 back top next  

The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors

Today's issue status: done


Cover: Small asteroid 2004 PJ is seen in this confirmation imagery from Robert Hutsebaut in Belgium using a Rent-A-Scope 0.25m telescope in New Mexico. This is a composite of ten 20-second exposures stacked for motion of 3.65"/min. toward 121.3°. See below for more about this past week's only asteroid discovery announcement.

Small objects – panel 1/2 Major News for 8 August 2004 back top next  

Small objects
Discovery & follow-up for 2-8 August

This past week one small asteroid discovery was announced (see report below and the cover above), and observations were reported for two other small asteroids (defined at right), work that involved 14 optical observing facilities. The discovery was the first for an asteroid of any size since July 28th, and only the twelfth near-Earth asteroid discovery announced since the full Moon of July 2nd.

Not reported yet through regular channels is radar observation of Earth-coorbital object 54509 2000 PH5 that was scheduled for 26-29 July at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. A/CC inquired and principal investigator Jean-Luc Margot responded that the “Observations were partially successful. Two days resulted in good data“ and there were ”two days of transmitter malfunction,” and analysis is in progress.

There were no known close flybys last week, and none are predicted for August.

<< previous report | skip table | Small objects table >>

What’s so big about “small objects”? If an asteroid’s orbit brings it to within 0.05 astronomical units (AU) of Earth's orbit, it is categorized as “potentially hazardous” unless it has an absolute magnitude H greater than 22.0, which corresponds to a diameter on the order of 135 meters/yards. Larger H means less bright, thus smaller size. And 0.05 AU is about 19.5 times the distance between Earth and Moon (0.00256 AU). To be discovered and tracked, such objects usually must come close (a few are Earth’s nearest neighbors, coming closer than the Moon). They are exposed pieces of distant asteroid populations, and they have within their own population tomorrow’s meteors. And their discovery and follow-up represents today’s best amateur and professional asteroid observing work. Diameter & Earth MOID: In the following observation summary table, the stated diameters are rough best estimates from a standard but very inexact H-to-size formula using H (absolute magnitude, or brightness) from the JPL NEO Orbital Elements page, source also for Earth MOID (minimum orbital intersection distance). Current Minor Planet Center H is also given, along with the original H from each object's discovery MPEC. Other sources: Planetary MOIDs are from Lowell Observatory. Priorities and visibilities are from the European Spaceguard Central Node (SCN) Priority List, which hasn't been updated since July 29th. And flyby distances and times are from the JPL Close Approach Table. See also the Sormano Observatory SAEL(H>22.0 and Earth MOID<0.015 AU), and NEODyS listings have yet another H calculation.
Small objects – panel 2/2 (table) Major News for 8 August 2004 back top next  

Small object observation summary for 2-8 August

H = absolute magnitude (brightness), from which size is roughly estimated   —   m/yd = meters/yards   —   [cross index]
All objects had observations reported last week. Those on a light-blue background had observations from only before the week.

European Spaceguard Central Node
2004 OW10
43 m/yd24.5024.524.4 2004-O390.004463 AUUrgent, visibility ends 27 Aug.
2004 OW10 was observed on 6 Aug. by Powell Obs. It has an MOID of 0.008 AU with Mars.
2004 PJ
89 m/yd22.9023.023.0 2004-P210.06031 AU
NEW: 2004 PJ was discovered on 6 Aug. by NEAT with its Mt. Palomar telescope, was confirmed on 6 Aug. by La Canada Obs., KLENOT, Great Shefford Obs. (two triplets from 2208-2230 and 0212-0227 UT), Pla D'Arguines Obs., SZTE Asteroid Program, and Consell Obs., and on 7 Aug. by CINEOS, Robert Hutsebaut (see cover above), and Hunters Hill Obs., and was announced in MPEC 2004-P21 of 7 Aug. This object was also observed on 7 Aug. by NEAT/Palomar and on 8 Aug. by Great Shefford Obs. It has an MOID of 0.042 AU with Mars, and JPL is showing that it passed 23.9 lunar distances from Earth on July 21st. Update: The SCN Priority List on Aug. 9th gave 2004 PJ a priority of Useful, with visibility noted as ending 19 Sept.
2000 PH5

107 m/yd22.5122.721.9 2000-P320.001726 AU
54509 2000 PH5 was observed on 31 July and 1 Aug. by Vallemare di Borbona Obs., on 1 Aug. by Powell Obs. and Hradec Kralove Obs., and on 2 Aug. by Wildberg Obs.

  Small object observation cross index   [table top]
ObjectObserved by MPC code
2004 OW10649
2004 PJ176, 246, 461, 599, 644, 941, E14, H06, J87 & J95
54509 2000 PH5048, 198, 649 & A55
CodeObservatoryObjects observed (days)
048Hradec Kralove54509 2000 PH5
176Consell Obs.2004 PJ
198Wildberg Obs.54509 2000 PH5
246KLENOT2004 PJ
461SZTE Asteroid Program2004 PJ
599CINEOS2004 PJ
644NEAT/Palomar2004 PJ(2)
649Powell Obs.2004 OW10 & 54509 2000 PH5
941Pla D'Arguines Obs.2004 PJ
A55Vallemare di Borbona Obs.54509 2000 PH5(2)
E14Hunters Hill Obs.2004 PJ
H06Robert Hutsebaut/New Mexico Skies2004 PJ
J87La Canada Obs.2004 PJ
J95Great Shefford Obs.2004 PJ(2)
News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 8 August 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Meteor news:  The BBC and Open University program, Stardate, has posted its promised Become a Meteorite Hunter guide. Part of this is identification information that includes the fact that industrial slag is “commonly mistaken for meteorites.” Another BBC site tells today about “Hunt for meteorites in UK begins” (see news thread), and lists old BBC article links, including one that reported a piece of slag as a meteorite in 2002 and hasn't yet been corrected (disproved by Marco Langbroek June 6th). The program also has added several educational items about asteroid history, etc.

National Geographic has a Perseids preview, “‘Unusually Good’ Meteor Shower Expected Thursday.”

Mission news:  A Friday report, headlined “NASA's Pluto Mission to be Delayed or Cut Back,” gives some details about unattractive mission profile change options for New Horizons that stem from a work stoppage where the spacecraft's plutonium-powered electrical generator is being assembled (see Tuesday news). The problem is at Los Alamos National Lab where there is an institutional crisis that goes well beyond what space news sites have explained simply as “a” security breach or “some missing computer disks” (see an Oakland Tribune August 5th report)

Naming:  The Illinois Champaign News-Gazette has an article from yesterday about the naming of Main Belt asteroid 17851 Kaler (1998 JK) for University of Illinois (UI) astronomy professor and author James Kaler, which came with the July namings. The article mentions other asteroids named for UI astronomers, 2417 McVittie and 9260 Edwardolson.

Hubble news:  NASA headquarters announced Friday that the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) “suspended operations earlier this week, and engineers are now looking into possible recovery options.” MSNBC said Friday that this instrument “was not slated for replacement or upgrade as part of any future servicing mission.” Sky & Telescope reported yesterday that the incident has left “the instrument permanently unusable and the telescope without a crucial capability,” and notes that “Its successor, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), is ready for launch but grounded indefinitely.” said yesterday that Hubble's “other three instruments continue to operate normally.”

NASA Johnson Space Center has a news release from Friday about Robonaut technology that is in development for remote-controlled repairs, but doesn't mention Hubble.

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 8 August 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring Friday 8 August tomorrow

There is no risk monitoring news to report today.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2200 UTC, 8 Aug




 2004 ME6JPL 6/282017-209943-5.64-6.3500.873
 NEODyS 6/272044-20637-7.29-7.7600.873
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.
Note that only objects recently in view are shown here.   [ top ]
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