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Thursday20 November 200310:19pm MST2003-11-21 UTC 0519
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
Page status: done, one addition
New Mexico event

KOAT-TV Albuquerque has reported on-air an apparent meteor event at just before 5:45pm MST seen over most of New Mexico and also in Arizona. Reports include a "contrail" persisting for about ten minutes.

New-found objects

Unusual objects:  MPEC 2003-W19 was issued overnight to announce 2003 WL7, which has been added to the Minor Planet Center's Centaurs and Scattered-Disk Objects list. It was first spotted with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope in Arizona early Sunday and was also found in images from the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope from October 18th. The preliminary orbit calculation has it traveling a path from between Saturn and Uranus out to the orbit of Neptune. Based on its brightness, 2003 WL7's width is estimated to be on the order of 54 km. (34 miles).

This morning's MPEC 2003-W21 announces 2003 WM7, an asteroidal object with a comet-like orbit that takes it all the way from inside Mercury's orbit (q=0.2693) to Jupiter's orbit (Q=5.2410) with an inclination of 11.5°. The standard rough conversion from WM7's brightness to size puts it at about 1.19 km. (0.739 mile) across, but a less reflective comet nucleus by the same formula can go up to 2.06 km. (1.28 miles) wide. WM7 was discovered early Tuesday by NEAT with its Palomar telescope.

TCO news:  MPEC 2003-W23 today announces another Tunguska-class object (TCO), 2003 WP7, discovered yesterday morning by Jeff Larsen with the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona. This was soon followed up with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope, the University of Hawaii 2.2m Telescope at Mauna Kea, and Powell Observatory. And it was caught again this morning.

2003 WP7 is estimated from its brightness to be about 45 meters/yards wide. Its low-inclined (1.0°) and eccentric (e=0.647) orbit stretches across Earth's orbit from the asteroid Main Belt. Sormano Observatory's Small Asteroids list predicts an Earth approach at just over seven lunar distances on December 4th, and shows an Earth MOID (minimum orbital intersection distance) that would categorize it as "potentially hazardous" if not for its small size.

2003 WE, announced Tuesday, was last reported seen that night by Sormano Observatory. Francesco Manca there tells A/CC that the Earth MOID for this TCO would categorize it, too, as a PHO if not for size. According to the Spaceguard Central Node, it will be visible until December 5th.


Risk monitoring 20 Nov.

Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC carries observations of 2003 WG from Camarillo and Powell observatories from yesterday morning in the U.S. and from Eschenberg Observatory last night in Europe. Today NEODyS slightly lowered its overall risk ratings for 2003 WG, while JPL, with a longer time horizon, cut from 12 impact solutions to five and slightly raised its overall ratings.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 1858 UTC, 20 Nov

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2003 WG NEODyS 11/202055-20782-3.85-3.8501.608
JPL 11/202055-21025-2.76-2.8201.608
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.
http://www.HohmannTransfer.com/mn/0311/20.htm
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