Friday22 October 20044:15pm MDT2004-10-22 UTC 2215 last
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Comet C/2004 T3 by Masi, et al. 
17 Oct. 2004 from SoTIE in Chile

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

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Cover: October 17th discovery confirmation imagery of comet C/2004 T3 (see news yesterday) from Gianluca Masi, Franco Mallia, and Roger Wilcox using the Southern TIE robotic telescope at Las Campanas in Chile. North is up and east is left. Masi's team was first to recognize the cometary nature of this object.

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 22 Oct. 2004 previous
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News briefs

Extrasolar news:  In continued reporting about Spitzer Space Telescope news from Monday, Sky & Telescope has a 20 October article, a UPI wire story is at SpaceDaily from yesterday, and Astronomy.com has a piece from yesterday. These are about debris disks around 71 of 266 surveyed nearby stars aged less than 800 million years, and what this tells us about our own Solar System's early collisional history.

There is a JPL news item from October 8th about using nulling interferometry with the twin Keck 10m infrared telescopes to null out individual stars in combined images in order to study their surrounding “exozodiacal dust.”

SOHO news:  MPEC 2004-U26 yesterday announced C/2004 U2 (SOHO) as discovered by Heiner Otterstedt in images available over the Internet from the SOHO spacecraft's LASCO C3 camera beginning October 16th. The MPEC includes an ephemeris, and SOHO staffer Karl Battams told the comet discovery chat page on Monday that this object, which is internally named SOHO-845, “is potentially SOHO's fourth ground-observable discovery!” Perihelion is calculated at 0.0659 AU on 18 October, traveling on a parabolic path nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic (i=84.25°).

Deep Impact:  A Reuters wire story reports today that 9P/Tempel 1 [alt link] “does not threaten Earth, but its inner workings could offer information about more menacing space rocks,” and quotes Deep Impact mission principal investigator Michael A'Hearn: “The properties of the cometary nucleus . . . are probably representative of the really dark near-Earth objects, which are likely dormant comets.” (This doesn't mention the often overlooked threat from comets that approach Earth only rarely on long-period orbits or only once.) It reports that, while the 4 July 2005 impact is expected to create a large crater, or the result could be less spectacular, there is also a “least likely scenario” of shattering 9P/Tempel 1.

The University of Maryland Diamondback has an article today with more from a press conference held yesterday. And see Monday news links about the spacecraft arriving at Kennedy Space Center to begin preparations for launch in late December.

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 22 Oct. 2004 previous
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Risk monitoring yesterday 22 Oct. tomorrow

The Friday Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC has observation of 2004 UE yesterday morning from Great Shefford Observatory in England, LINEAR in New Mexico, and New Mexico Skies. Today JPL removed its last two impact solutions for this object.

And the DOU reports that Great Shefford caught 2004 TD18 on both sides of midnight last night, adding 4.775 days to what had been a 4.071-day observing arc. Today JPL cut its risk assessment for this small object to a single very low-rated solution in the year 2103.


Update:  The observing from New Mexico Skies was by Robert Hutsebaut using a Rent-A-Scope telescope.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2209 UTC, 22 Oct

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 UEJPL 10/22R E M O V E D
NEODyS 10/20R E M O V E D
 2004 TD18JPL 10/222103-21031-7.40-7.4008.846
 2004 RQ252 NEODyS 10/132017-20171-6.92-6.92022.778
JPL 10/3R E M O V E D
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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