Tuesday10 August 20046:50pm MDT2004-08-11 UTC 0050 back top next  
2004 PZ19 confirmation images from 9 Aug. 2004 from the Visnjan School of Astronomy NEO group of Andrea Petrov, Stefan Cikota and Neven Udovicic with teacher Reiner Stoss using an Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca 0.3m telescope remotely.

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Cover: Small object 2004 PZ19 is seen in these confirmation images from last night from the Visnjan School of Astronomy NEO group of Andrea Petrov, Stefan Cikota and Neven Udovicic with teacher Reiner Stoss using an Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) 0.3m telescope remotely. These are stacks of what were originally 15 nine-second exposures from which some had to be removed because of interfering stars. See below for more about the discovery and pursuit of this object that will pass at 1.6 lunar distances tomorrow night, and also see a report about the Visnjan NEO group below.

VSA 2004 – panel 1/1 Major News for 10 August 2004 back top next  

VSA 2004   by Reiner Stoss

The NEO group at the Visnjan Summer School of Astronomy (VSA) at Visnjan Observatory in Croatia this year includes Andrea Petrov (age 15), Stefan Cikota (16), and Neven Udovicic (16), all from Croatia. (The 2003 class also had participants from other countries.)

The goal of the group is to learn basically all you need to know to be able to hunt for asteroids and comets, no matter if in the discovery game or doing targeted follow-up. So we do some theory about the properties of CCD cameras, telescopes, star catalogs, astrometry software, and how to use the various services offered by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) and how to communicate with MPC. Beyond theory, we try to use every clear hour to observe, using the 30-cm. remote-controlled telescope at Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) on Spain's island of Mallorca. OAM allows us to use this telescope during the entire VSA, for almost two weeks.

So all the theory and work done is based around the topic of remote observing, which will be the future of amateur astronomy. We learn each step, from observation planning to data acquisition and reduction. So far we have observed NEOs, NEO candidates from the NEOCP, and comets. We will also schedule other types of asteroids and “space

The Visnjan School of Astronomy 2004 NEO group

VSA 2004 NEO group members, from front to back: Andrea Petrov, Stefan Cikota, Neven Udovicic, and instructor Reiner Stoss. Image courtesy of VSA.

junk.” The students, under OAM's MPC#620 observatory code, have received discovery confirmation MPEC credit for the fast-moving small object 2004 PZ19 (see the cover above) and for potentially hazardous asteroid 2004 PJ2.

The topic of this year's VSA is “Astronomy and Robotics,” and, beside our NEO group, there is a group developing a remote-controlled telescope system of its own — the hardware (e.g., shelter) as well as the software, another group is developing a planetary rover, and so on.

Reiner Stoss is an engineering student, a very active amateur astronomer, and an experienced astronomical archive sleuth (see his July 24th article and the A/CC news Index).

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 10 August 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Meteor news:  BBC has a preview today for the Perseids, which are predicted to peak this year in the overnight 11-12 and 12-13 August, Space.com has “Top 10 Facts: Perseid Meteor Shower” today, and Science@NASA told about Perseid Earth-grazers yesterday.

A Vancouver, Washington Columbian article today tells about the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory meteorite exhibit at Rice Northwest Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Bits & pieces:  Yesterday Japan claimed the first successful solar sail deployment in space (see news). A Marshall Space Flight Center news release today says that “NASA's Solar Sail Propulsion Team and industry partners have successfully deployed two 10-meter solar sails in a vacuum environment” in July and earlier.

An Associated Press wire story at news sites such as CNN today reports “NASA said Tuesday it is moving ahead with plans to send a robot to the rescue of the aging Hubble Space Telescope” if Congress provides the $1 to $1.6 billion estimated to be needed. Among robots proposed for the job, including NASA's Robonaut, the Canadian Space Agency's Dextre “holds the most promise for being ready on time, said Al Diaz, NASA's science mission boss.”

Small object 2004 PZ19:  At 0820 UTC this morning, A/CC signed off with this report posted temporarily to yesterday's news page:

The Minor Planet Center has taken the unusual step of posting observations of a newly discovered near-Earth object in a Daily Orbit Update MPEC (Tuesday's DOU [time stamp 0609 UT, posted after 0700 UT]) before issuing a discovery MPEC for it. A check with the MPC Ephemeris Service (MPES) shows that a good preliminary orbit hasn't been established yet for 2004 PZ19 (“E-assumed” = 0.5470211), but using the DOU puts the data immediately into the hands of other orbit computers such as NEODyS and JPL. From the orbit calculation that it does have, MPES is showing this to be a small object on a path that will bring it to about 1.7 lunar distances from Earth on Thursday. It was discovered by LINEAR early Sunday, and six observing facilities have participated in confirmation through early Tuesday. At last check, this object remains on the NEO Confirmation Page (NEOCP) identified with only its temporary designation, AO86297.

The MPC subsequently issued MPEC 2004-P33 with a time stamp of 0918 UT that repeated those observations and reported more from a total of ten participating activities. JPL is showing that 2004 PZ19 will come to 1.6 lunar distances at 2007 UT tomorrow night (4:07pm EDT Wednesday).

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 10 August 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 10 August

There is no risk monitoring news to report today.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0048 UTC, 11 Aug

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 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.
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