|Tuesday||18 November 2003||6:35pm MST||2003-11-19 UTC 0135|
New 2003 VS2 precovery
Reiner Stoss yesterday reported to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) precovery observations of 2003 VS2 that he had located in Digitized Sky Survey Palomar plate scans from 17 September, 6 and 10 October, and 7 December 1991, and from 15 September 1993. This extends VS2's observing arc back by a bit more than seven years from what was reported in the discovery MPEC (see A/CC's Sunday report).
Searching the archives can bring some nice visual surprises. In this case, there were multiple galaxies in the larger image from 6 October 1991. A portion of that image, shown at right, includes one galaxy that is interacting with another out of view to the upper left, some 20 million light years away.
More 2003 VS2 newsNASA/JPL's Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program has posted its 2003 VS2 discovery image. To understand this screen shot better, see NEAT's revised image explanation. NEAT, by the way, puts this object's size at "700 (400)" km./miles wide, which would be bigger than all but one Main Belt asteroid. As for comparisons with other Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects (EKBOs, aka EKOs, KBOs, and TNOs), 2003 VS2 is well below the estimated sizes of the four largest listed on David Jewitt's 1000 km Scale KBOs page (not counting Pluto and its moon, Charon).
TCO news: MPEC 2003-W06 today announces the first new-found Tunguska-class object since the
Naming controversy: Along with topics such as a super model and a supermarket tarantula infestation, the Slovak Spectator's "Around Slovakia" for today has an asteroid controversy:
An asteroid named after the recently deceased Slovak cult comedian Julius Satinsky has sparked trouble between the astronomer who discovered the space body [Adrian Galad at Modra Observatory] and his bosses in the Institute of Astronomy at Bratislava's Comenius University. . . Vladimir Porubcan said that his institute would like to have astronomers consult the names with their bosses. "We don't want to interfere, but we do want to consult — the dignified representation of Slovakia is in play here."
At right is comet 2003 W1 (LINEAR) imagery by Juan Lacruz, whose observations from last night appeared in yesterday's discovery MPEC.
DSN lecture: JPL has an item from yesterday announcing a free public lecture on 20 and 21 November in Pasadena, Calif. by Deep Space Mission System Program Manager Peter Doms on "The Deep Space Network challenge for 2003-2004: Tracking Dozens of Mission-Critical Spacecraft Events." Both talks will be webcast live and also will be made available afterward. The time both days is 7pm Pacific Standard Time (0300 UT).
Late Tuesday afternoon in Pasadena, JPL added 2003 WG to its Current Impact Risks page, not long after this object was announced in MPEC 2003-W16. This is the only object under recent observation to be listed with impact solutions since the 12th. It was discovered this morning by Bruce Koehn at LONEOS in Arizona, who followed it for 43 minutes, and was picked up two and half hours later by Jim Young at JPL's Table Mountain Observatory in southern California. Then, as reported in the MPEC, it was followed by Zimmerwald and Sormano observatories tonight in Europe.
The first calculation has a very eccentric (e=0.779) and somewhat inclined (i=27.1°) orbit. From its brightness, 2003 WG is estimated by standard formula to be on the order of 475 meters/yards wide.
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