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yesterday November tomorrow
Saturday22 November 200310:43pm MST2003-11-23 UTC 0543
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
Page status: done, updated 22 Nov.
New-found objects

Kilometer-size NEOs:  LINEAR in New Mexico was credited yesterday, overnight, and today with three new kilometer-size NEO discoveries made in the last two days. 2003 WB25 was announced in MPEC 2003-W33 with only LINEAR observations, discovered early yesterday but matched with observations from the the day before and on the 5th. MPEC 2003-W34 announced 2003 WC25, discovered early Thursday but having observations from LINEAR on the 4th and LONEOS on October 25th. And also discovered Thursday morning is 2003 WL5, announced in today's MPEC 2003-W35. The standard formula for converting brightness to size puts the three objects' respective diameters at roughly 1.08 km. (0.674 mile), 1.43 km. (0.888 mile), and 1.14 km. (0.706 mile).

Unusual object:  Discovered with NEAT's Mt. Palomar telescope yesterday morning was 2003 WR25, announced in MPEC 2003-W39 today with an eccentric (e=0.7074), low-inclined (i=9.0°) orbit that slightly crosses the orbits of both Earth and Jupiter, as well as Mars and the whole asteroid Main Belt. Its absolute magnitude is put at 19.5, which by standard formula would put it at roughly 335 to 750 meters/yards wide, depending on its nature.

TCO news:  Jeff Larsen early yesterday discovered 2003 WP25 using the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona, as announced today in MPEC 2003-W37. From its brightness, this object is estimated at about 45 meters/yards wide. It lives mostly inside Earth's orbit, which it crosses with an inclination of 2.6°.

Update:  Lowell Observatory's Orbit intersections list now shows that 2003 WP25, if larger, would be categorized as a PHO.

2003 WB8 as found by Maik Meyer
in a May 1993 POSS II scanned plate 2003 WB8 located by Maik Meyer as a trail in a scanned May 1993 plate from the Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II).

Large NEO:  Following Thursday's announcement of NEO 2003 WB8 (see A/CC's report yesterday), estimated at larger than four kilometers wide, Maik Meyer tells A/CC that he has found and reported this object from "NEAT images of August 2002, and on one Palomar DSS plate of May 1993." The 1993 trail is shown above.

Lowell Observatory's Orbit intersections list, maintained by Bruce Koehn, is showing that 2003 WB8 can come within 0.12681 AU of Jupiter.

New Mexico event

KOAT-TV Albuquerque has updated its news item from yesterday to include a picture from the Sandia National Lab all-sky camera and adding comments from Dick Spalding from the lab and an eyewitness account from a pilot.

Mission news

SIRTF:  The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) in a Mission Update yesterday reported that "The mission's nominal 90-day in-orbit checkout and science verification phase will be extended for seven days, primarily to account for interruptions caused by solar storms. The science mission is tentatively scheduled to begin on December 1 with the SIRTF First-Look Survey" (FLS). The FLS Ecliptic Component includes as its "main goal" characterizing the population of Main Belt asteroids with diameters less than one kilometer.

New Horizons:  Mission partner Southwest Research Institute issued a news release yesterday stating that New Horizons "is proceeding toward a January 2006 launch" for a 2015 first-ever flyby of Pluto/Charon. It explains that the mission will practice its flyby procedures on the jovian system during a Jupiter gravity-assist passage, and planning has begun to make valuable scientific observations in the process.

Rosetta:  The Rosetta Journal reported yesterday that launch preparations are on schedule for the Rosetta comet mission.

Risk monitoring 22 Nov.

The Minor Planet Center (MPC) Status Page reports that a problem in the new software for assembling Daily Orbit Update MPECs "failed" last night and so no DOU was or will be issued today. The MPC Last Observation page at last check was showing 2003 WG observation by Consell Observatory yesterday.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0521 UTC, 23 Nov




 2003 WY25JPL 11/232100-21001-5.45-5.45028.725
 2003 WG NEODyS 11/212055-20551-2.35-2.3502.631
JPL 11/212055-20983-2.35-2.3602.631
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.

Late update:  JPL today posted 2003 WY25 with a single low-rated impact solution well beyond the NEODyS time horizon. This small PHO was announced near the end of the day UT in MPEC 2003-W41 as having been discovered this morning by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), found in LONEOS images from October 25th, and followed up tonight by KLENOT and the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM). From its brightness, this object is roughly estimated at about 235 meters/yards wide. The preliminary orbit calculation has it traveling mostly outside of, and barely meeting, Earth's orbit.
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