|Monday||24 November 2003||3:08pm MST||2003-11-24 UTC 2208|
Very unusual object: MPEC 2003-W48 today announces a hulking object from the outer Solar System. By standard formula from its absolute magnitude (calculated at H=9.2 G=0.15), 2003 WT42 is some 38 to 86 km. (24-53 miles) wide. If an inactive comet, it's likely on the upper end of that range. And it is on a cometary path with eccentricity initially calculated at e=0.9908, coming as close to the Sun as Jupiter but reaching all the way out to 1128 times the distance between Earth and Sun. It was discovered by LINEAR early last Wednesday in New Mexico and also found in LINEAR images from October 30th
TCO news: Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC reports that early yesterday 2003 WU21 was caught by Camarillo Observatory and 2003 WP25 by Jornada Observatory, and 2003 WE was observed by KLENOT last night. The SCN Priority List notes that these Tunguska-class objects, along with 2003 WP7, will go out of view for most observers around 6-8
December, and another TCO, 2003 WQ21, on the 18th. But for their small sizes, these would all be categorized as PHOs except 2003 WU21, according to the Lowell Observatory Orbital intersections list. The closest upcoming Earth flyby will be 2003 WP7 at 7.1 lunar distances on December 4th. For news of a larger TCO currently in view, see 2003 WW26 with impact solutions below.
Radar news: JPL's Lance Benner yesterday told the Minor Planet Mailing list (MPML) that "Arecibo delay-Doppler images obtained on November 23 clearly show that [65803 1996 GT] is a binary system," with the primary initially estimated at 800 meters/yards across and the satellite at 100-200 meters wide. "[We] encourage optical observers to obtain lightcurves, spectroscopy, and (if possible) infrared radiometry of this object." See also an earlier report of this observing, and the radar planning page for 65803, which is a potentially hazardous object.
Today NEODyS posted 2003 WW26, for which no new observations were reported in Monday's Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU). The JPL Close Approach page is showing that 2003 WW26, which was discovered November 21st, passed Earth at 15.3 lunar distances on the 16th. The European Spaceguard Central Node (SCN) Priority List notes that it will go out of view for most observers December 10th.
The DOU carries observations of 2003 WG from yesterday morning from Egan Observatory and last night from Eschenberg and Jornada observatories plus KLENOT and the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope. Today both risk monitors slightly lowered their risk assessments for this object, and both are now down to one impact solution in the year 2055.
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