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Thursday4 December 20038:53pm MST2003-12-05 UTC 0353
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
Page status: done
  • News briefs – P/2003 UD16 (LONEOS), readings on Stardust & robot telescopes,
    plus new-found & small objects
  • Risk monitoring – JPL has posted 2003 XL & 2003 XM
Late news:  Close flyby:  MPEC 2003-X28 tonight announces 2003 XV, a Tunguska-class object discovered Monday by Spacewatch and predicted to fly past Earth at 1.2 lunar distances tomorrow night.
Readings:  The journal Science in its issue tomorrow has an article for purchase, "Direct Detection of the Yarkovsky Effect by Radar Ranging to Asteroid 6489 Golevka," by Steven Chesley et al. New Scientist posted a report today, "Sunlight's gentle nudge on asteroids detected," and Scripps Howard News Service has a wire story today, "Sun can push asteroids closer to Earth." For more about this topic, see A/CC's Yarkovsky effect links.

News briefs
Comet news:  The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams is showing that LONEOS discovery 2003 UD16 has been caught near perihelion displaying cometary activity. It travels a Jupiter-crossing path between 3.640 and 8.394 AU at 24.4° inclination.

P/2003 UD16 (LONEOS) orbit Your Solar System today, showing the path of comet P/2003 UD16 (LONEOS), illustration from EasySky.

Readings:  The Planetary Society has an article from yesterday, "Stardust Captures First Glimpse of Its Comet." See also A/CC's report.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article today about an effort to raise $10 million "to build four domed observatories, one holding a telescope with a 50-inch mirror, the biggest east of Indiana." This would be on Garland Mountain north of Atlanta and linked to Georgia schools via Internet for classroom use and "larger projects directed by universities or science organizations like NASA." "Cherokee County has agreed to give the land [around 20 acres, and] approved $300,000 in road improvements to the site. . .  It also passed an ordinance that limits outdoor lighting."

The Baltimore Sun has an article today, "Plugged in: Web site puts PCs nearer to heavens," reporting about the commercial Internet telescope subscription service to debut December 25th. $50 per year gets limited private and shared online access to a pair of 16" telescopes on Mount Teide in the Canary Islands. The article mentions some other robotic observing programs, and see A/CC's June and August reports for more info.

News briefs, part 2

Seen again:  2000 BD19 [link|alt] is reported in today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) as picked up yesterday morning by LINEAR. This object, which buzzes the Sun at 36 lunar distances, may be an inactive comet and was last seen in January.

New-found:  Objects announced late yesterday and early today include 2003 UN284, an EKBO/Cubewano discovered October 24th and further observed on 20 and 24 November with the Kitt Peak 4m telescope (MPEC 2003-X20). Its width is on the order of 120 km. (74 miles). 2003 XG was discovered yesterday morning by LINEAR, found in LINEAR images from November 19th, and confirmed last night by Andrushivka Observatory (MPEC 2003-X21). This object crosses the asteroid Main Belt, and has a rough width estimate of 2.73 km. (1.69 miles).

Two kilometer-size NEOs were announced: 2003 XE, discovered by LINEAR December 1st (MPEC 2003-X19), and Jupiter-approaching 2003 XL, found by LONEOS yesterday (2003-X23).

Also kilometer-size but more distant is 2003 WG166, discovered by LINEAR November 30th and watched since then by nine observatories, including a 1.2m telescope at La Silla in Chile this morning. Its path runs from 1.836 out to 8.497 AU at an inclination of 55.4° (MPEC 2003-X24).

Small objects:  Two Tunguska-class objects were announced today: 2003 XK, discovered December 1st by LINEAR (MPEC 2003-X25), and 2003 WH166 discovered November 30th with the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope (MPEC 2003-X27). Sormano Observatory has posted both to its Small Asteroids list with orbits that would classify them as PHOs if of larger size, and notes that 2003 XK was closest the day before discovery (4.3 lunar distances), while 2003 WH166 will fly by at more than 40 LD January 31st.

2002 V91 [link|alt], recently recovered with the University of Hawaii 2.2m Telescope, is reported in today's DOU as seen November 30th by the Whipple Observatory 1.2m telescope.

Risk monitoring 4 Dec.

No objects with impact solutions and in recent view have observations reported in today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC. The Minor Planet Center's Last Observation page is showing, however, that Tenagra II Observatory caught 2003 WY153 this morning.

As noted here yesterday, 2003 WT153 goes out of view after today until the year 2008, and any effort at recovery then will be a very long shot.

Late update:  On Thursday evening in Pasadena, JPL has posted two new objects with low-rated risk assessments: 2003 XL and 2003 XM. Both were announced today as discovered yesterday morning, 2003 XL by LONEOS (MPEC 2003-X23) and 2003 XM by LINEAR (MPEC 2003-X26). JPL puts XL's width at 1.61 km. (0.997 mile) and XM at 550 meters/yards.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0316 UTC, 5 Dec




 2003 XMJPL 12/52053-20531-5.31-5.3101.083
 2003 XLJPL 12/52096-20992-5.44-5.6001.076
 2003 WY153 NEODyS 12/32071-20711-7.47-7.4703.154
JPL 12/32071-20711-7.54-7.5403.154
 2003 WW26 NEODyS 12/12061-20725-3.91-4.1708.925
JPL 12/12061-20613-3.90-4.1508.925
 2003 WT153 NEODyS 12/22049-207718-7.16-7.7102.501
JPL 12/22048-210331-6.99-7.7502.501
 2003 WGNEODyS 11/29R E M O V E D
JPL 11/292055-20551-5.95-5.95010.779
 2003 WD158 NEODyS 12/32035-208032-5.57-6.6702.083
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.


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