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Wednesday17 December 20032:59pm MST2003-12-17 UTC 2159
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
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News briefs

Comet news:  MPEC 2003-Y16 today announces comet P/2003 XD10 (LINEAR-NEAT), with the first LINEAR observations shown from November 20th and 4-5 December, and NEAT observations from its Mt. Palomar telescope on December 14th. This object travels a path between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and the MPEC has perihelion on September 16th. Peter Birtwhistle, who participated in the confirmation process for three nights, has posted a P/2003 XD10 page with an image.

Quadrantids:  As reported earlier, 2003 EH1 has been identified with the Quadrantid Meteor Shower by Peter Jenniskens. His IAUC info and preprint (then 23Kb now 512Kb PDF) are now available from NASA/Ames. Starting with the current MPC orbit calculated from EH1's short observational arc, Pasquale Tricarico has used ORSA to create an animation showing an 1842 encounter with Jupiter that shifted 2003 EH1's perihelion from just inside to just outside of Earth's orbit. Accompanying charts show other orbit-changing Jupiter encounters as recently as 1972.

New Horizons Student Dust Counter team
CU-B LASP Student Dust Counter team last year. Image courtesy of New Horizons.

LASP expansion: 
A plan to expand the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-B) has been passed by the board of regents, the Colorado Daily reports today. "Two LASP students had the board engrossed Wednesday with their presentation of a spacecraft that will monitor dust distribution while on its way to the planet Pluto." This, the first student deep space instrument, is part of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt. See A/CC news for more about that, and an earlier Colorado Daily article for more about the LASP expansion.

Yarkovsky effect:  Sky & Telescope has an article today, "The Asteroid and the Pea," about the Yarkovsky effect, with some nice illustration work. Other recent news links on this topic can be found in the Major News Index.


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Risk monitoring 17 Dec.

The Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC has observation of 2003 WY153 by Great Shefford Observatory in England yesterday morning, more than doubling the observational arc for this small object, which hadn't been reported since Great Shefford last caught it early on December 7th. Today NEODyS and JPL raised their risk assessments for the one low-rated impact solution each is carrying for the year 2071.

The Minor Planet Center's Last Observation page is showing that Powell Observatory in Kansas observed 2003 WY153 and 2003 XM this morning, and Great Shefford also reported 2003 WY153 overnight.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 1843 UTC, 17 Dec

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2003 XMJPL 12/152057-20593-3.83-3.84011.771
 NEODyS 12/152052-20604-4.23-4.24011.771
 2003 WY153 NEODyS 12/172071-20711-6.25-6.25016.848
JPL 12/172071-20711-6.20-6.20016.848
 2003 WT153 NEODyS 12/52043-208036-6.61-6.9902.501
JPL 12/52044-210340-6.75-7.4102.501
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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