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Friday19 December 20039:35pm MST2003-12-20 UTC 0435
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
Page status: done
  • News briefs – Stardust news, 25143 Itokawa spotted, many new-found NEOs
      & more Spitzer news links
  • Risk monitoring – JPL & NEODyS have posted 2003 YP1
News briefs

Stardust:  A Stardust mission status report today tells about self-protective maneuvering, and reports:

While Comet Wild 2 has been in the spacecraft's sights since Nov. 19, the comet was successfully observed from Earth for the first time since it went behind the sun last spring by Dr. Alan Tokunaga at the Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii. 

A University of Washington news release today, "Comet encounter is key moment in UW astronomer's long scientific quest," tells about the Stardust's principal investigator, Donald Brownlee.

Itokawa spotted:  Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC reports observation of 25143 Itokawa [link|alt] (1998 SF36) yesterday and the day before by JPL's Table Mountain Observatory in southern California. According to the NEODyS tally, this is the first reported sighting since September 2001 for this potentially hazardous asteroid that Japan's MUSES-C Hayabusa mission is headed to meet in 2005.

New-found objects:  Fourteen new near-Earth objects were announced with discovery circulars yesterday and today (Friday the 19th). Three of

these NEOs were categorized as potentially hazardous by the Minor Planet Center — one found by LONEOS in Arizona on the 17th and two found by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona on the 18th and 19th, including the largest of the lot at roughly a mile (1.7 km.) wide, 2003 YT1. And another CSS discovery from the 18th, 2003 YP1, was soon listed by JPL and NEODyS with impact solutions (see below).

The 14 objects include two with absolute magnitude H>22.0. 2003 YW1 was found with the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona on the 18th, and the smallest of the bunch, 2003 YN1 (perhaps 55 meters/yards wide), was discovered by LINEAR in New Mexico on the 17th. (Lowell Observatory is showing that YN1 would be categorized as potentially hazardous if larger.)

The Spacewatch 0.9m had one other discovery, and NEAT/Palomar in southern California had one credit. The other six were found by LINEAR.

Spitzer Space Telescope:  Continuing yesterday's news about first images images from the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) and its naming as the "Spitzer Space Telescope" (SST) are articles today at New Scientist and Astronomy.com.


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Risk monitoring 19 Dec.

JPL and NEODyS have posted 2003 YP1, an object that JPL estimates at about 171 meters/yards wide. It was discovered yesterday morning by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona and announced just after midnight UT in MPEC 2003-Y22 with an observational arc of 15 hours. JPL posted it last night local time, and NEODyS posted it this morning. No further observations are reported in today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU).

The DOU has observations of 2003 XM from CSS yesterday morning and KLENOT in the Czech Republic last night. Today NEODyS and JPL pared their 2003 XM risk assessments down to one impact solution in 2059, and raised/lowered their ratings slightly to converge more closely on that solution.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0308 UTC, 20 Dec

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2003 YP1 NEODyS 12/192036-20733-5.68-5.8800.626
JPL 12/192036-20733-4.85-4.9500.626
 2003 XM NEODyS 12/192059-20591-3.66-3.66015.645
JPL 12/192059-20591-3.76-3.76015.645
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.
Note that only objects recently in view are shown here.

The A/CC Summary and Consolidated risk tables present only objects that have impact solutions and are currently in view, thus 2003 WT153 has been removed here today, 18 days after it was last reported seen before moving inside Earth's orbit, and with no other data reported in the last 14 days. This tiny object is, of course, still listed at NEODyS and JPL, and could be next seen in 2008. With an observational arc of two and a half days, WT153 will be difficult to find again on purpose (reference Major News December 13th).


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