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The Asteroid/Comet Connection's news journal about asteroids, comets & meteors   –   5-31 Aug. 2005

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[ 4 September 2005 news ]


31 August 2005 - Wednesday  

August news briefs:  The editor traveled daily during most of August and this week started a new school term. Here are a few news briefs from the month, followed by a complete report of risk monitoring news from recent weeks.
FMOP news
See the FMO Project news page for a bunch of news from this week.
Aug. 24th news
The Minor Planet Center updated its minor planet Discovery Circumstances pages on August 24th.
Aug. 17th news
Comet C/SOHO-1000 "was discovered by Toni Scarmato on August 5th," as announced by Karl Battams on the SOHO comet discovery chat page on August 17th. See also the NASA news release and SOHO Hot Shots page, as well as MPEC 2005-Q04, which may include the official IAU designation for this comet, apparently either C/2005 P1 or C/2005 P2 (SOHO).

August risk monitoring:  The month of August 2005 was the quietest for risk monitoring since A/CC began closely following this critical activity in March 2002. This was just as well for A/CC and its readers, because the A/CC site was updated only intermittently due to the editor's constant travel during a three-week school break. After the Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC of August 8th, optical observations of objects with impact solutions weren't reported again until the DOU three days ago.
      The DOU of August 17th reported that Arecibo in Puerto Rico pinged 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4) by radar on August 7th. Sometime between 1436 and 0134 UTC of 18-19 August, NEODyS and JPL updated their Apophis risk assessments, and sometime between 1408 and 0239 UTC of 19-20 August JPL revised its assessment. The net result was for JPL to slightly raise its overall risk ratings, and for NEODyS to slightly lower its ratings, which are a bit higher than JPL's. Additional revisions wouldn't be unusual over the coming months, but there will be no further observations of this dangerous object until early 2007.
      On August 27th, four days ago, the discovery of 2005 QA5 was announced in MPEC 2005-Q30, and JPL posted it with a couple-dozen low-rated impact solutions — the first new risk listing since the 5th of the month. It was discovered by the Siding Spring Survey (SSS) in Australia on August 25th and was confirmed by Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand on the 27th. The DOU of the 28th reported observation from Hunters Hill Observatory in Australia the day before, and JPL removed its solutions.
      Yesterday, MPEC 2005-Q53 announced the discovery of 2005 QE30 by JPL's NEAT program with its Mt. Palomar telescope in southern California on the 26th, and JPL posted this object with impact solutions. The discovery was confirmed on the night of the 29th by Wildberg Observatory in Germany, Gnosca Observatory in Switzerland, CINEOS in Italy, the SZTE Asteroid Program in Hungary, and Consell Observatory in Spain. This was followed after midnight UT by confirmation from JPL's Table Mountain Observatory in southern California and Grasslands Observatory in Arizona. This morning's DOU reported more positions from within the discovery arc, from the night of the 29th from CINEOS and Suno Observatory in Italy. Today NEODyS posted this mile-size object while JPL slightly lowered its risk assessment.
      Also today, another object made its appearance. Little 2005 QK76 was discovered yesterday morning by Spacewatch in Arizona with its 0.9m telescope, and was confirmed this morning with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope and announced in MPEC 2005-Q57, after which it was posted by JPL with impact solutions.
      Doing risk monitoring work was complicated by some outages during the month. From 19 to 20 August, the Minor Planet Center had a complete blackout with its computers, Web services, and E-mail, as reported on the MPC Status Page. And NEODyS Pisa was offline during 27-28 August, although NEODyS Valladolid kept all essential products available.
      A/CC's latest risk monitoring details, and links to more information, are posted on the CRT page, and updates are flagged via the A/CC RSS news feed (details below).



13 August 2005 - Saturday

Risk monitoring:  To sum up for Monday through today, the only risk monitoring news this past week came on Monday, when the Daily Orbit Update MPEC reported observation of 2005 PO from the morning before from Farpoint Observatory in Kansas and the night before from Wildberg Observatory in Germany and after midnight UT from Great Shefford Observatory in England. And that day, Monday, NEODyS and JPL removed this object as a risk.
      Subsequent to Sunday and Monday's delistings of 2005 NZ6 and 2005 PO, there have been no objects with impact solutions, new or remaining, under optical observation this week.



7 August 2005 - Sunday

Risk monitoring:  Yesterday's Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC reported no observations of any objects, and the only news was that NEODyS posted 2005 PO as a risk. Today's DOU reports 2005 NZ6 on the 6th from an ongoing vigil by North Ryde Observatory in New South Wales, and also 2005 PO from Farpoint Observatory in Kansas yesterday morning and early today from Marxuquera Observatory in Spain and Great Shefford Observatory in England. Today both JPL and NEODyS removed the single impact solution each had remaining for the kilometer-plus 2005 NZ6, and JPL solidly lowered its risk assessment for the smaller 2005 PO, cutting from 90 solutions to only four.



5 August 2005 - Friday  

Risk monitoring:  So far in August, JPL posted as risks 2005 OJ3 on the 1st and 2005 PO today, and removed 2005 OU2 on the 2nd and 2005 OJ3 on the 4th.
      2005 OJ3 was discovered by CINEOS in Italy on the night of July 30th and was confirmed by Farpoint Observatory in Kansas early on the 31st and 1st, and by UKAPP in Northern Ireland with the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii on the 31st. It was announced on the 1st in MPEC 2005-P07, which is when (only) JPL posted it with a single impact solution. Further observation was reported on the 2nd from the night before from CINEOS and from Great Shefford Observatory in England, and on the 4th from the night before in Spain from Marxuquera and Consell observatories.
      2005 OU2, which was announced on July 31st (see news), was reported on the 2nd as observed by the Siding Spring Survey in Australia on the 1st, and that's all it took for JPL to remove its one impact solution.
      There was no risk monitoring news on August 3rd, but Daily Orbit Update MPECs of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th reported that North Ryde Observatory observed 2005 NZ6 the days before in Australia, and NEODyS and JPL progessively lowered their risk assessments from last Sunday down now to a single low-rated impact solution.
      And 2005 PO was announced today in MPEC 2005-P26 as discovered by NEAT with its Mt. Palomar telescope yesterday morning and confirmed last night by Consell Observatory and today by Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand.

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