March 2002 Asteroid/Comet News

Updated: 13 December 2002
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12 March 2002

NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL in Pasadena, Calif. announced its new Sentry System for tracking potentially hazardous objects and went public with its Current Impact Risks page. NASA Ames has a collection of related news reports. See also risk monitoring programs.

19 March 2002

4 Vesta passed very close to Saturn high overhead for northern hemisphere observers. See Maurice Gavin's images from his night sky sampler page, and some comparative spectroscopy of Vesta and Saturn's moon, Titan, done at the same time.

25 March 2002

A news release from the Carnegie Institution tells about an article in the March 2002 Meteoritics and Planetary Science journal by Steven J. Desch and Harold C. Connolly, Jr. about how chondrules melted as they passed through shock waves in the solar nebula gas [changing] from fluffy dust to round, compact spheres, altering their aerodynamic properties, and enabling the growth of larger bodies, [leading] to the formation of planets in general. Their new model appears to answer problems in explaining how the temperature and pressure ranges could have occurred to result in the chondrules commonly found in meteorites.

Amateur NEO discoveries in March

2002 EA and 2002 EL6 were discovered in early March 2002 by European amateur astronomers Rafael Ferrando and Andre Knoefel. EL6 was briefly listed on JPL's hit parade as a possible impact hazard.

Risk concerns removed

Potentially hazardous asteroids removed from the NEODyS and/or JPL risk pages during March 2002 include: 2002 EL6, EM7, FB3, and FC.

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