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Tuesday30 December 20037:44pm MST2003-12-31 UTC 0244
Today's news about Asteroids, Comets & Meteors
Page status: done — expanded & updated 2x
  • News briefs – distant objects, DOU bits, Stardust, white Hawaii & Quadrantid meteors
  • Risk monitoring – NEODyS has removed 2003 YE45 & posted 2003 YK118 & YG118
News briefs

Distant objects:  MPEC 2003-Y84 yesterday announced the discovery of nine Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects (EKBOs), all Plutinos orbiting in resonance with Neptune. One was found on November 20th and the others during 22-24 October, with follow-up 20-21 and 24 November by Lowell Observatory's Deep Ecliptic Survey (DES) using the Mayall 4m Telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona. Two more-distant EKBOs were also found and reported in MPEC 2003-Y85, along with two Centaurs. They all range on the order of 55 to 165 km. wide (35-105 miles), except one Centaur at perhaps 30 km. (20 miles) across. These reports continue from the 27th a news thread about recent DES follow-up and discovery work.

DOU tidbits:  Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2002 VU94 [link|alt] from Sandlot Observatory in Kansas from yesterday. This brings to our attention that McDonald Observatory in Texas picked up this 2.5-km. (1.5-mile) PHO on November 29th, the first it had been reported seen since last January 17th.

Today's DOU reports that 2003 SA224 has been found in plate scans from Siding Spring from 9 October 1979. This follows an update MPEC of the 28th that reported this large NEO had been found in Mt. Palomar plate scans going back to 1990.

Stardust:  NASA/JPL held a news conference at 11am in Pasadena today about Friday's Stardust comet flyby, and reports have now been posted by National Geographic today, "NASA Probe on Course for Friday Comet Encounter," and by Space.com today, "Stardust Prepares to Make History." JPL later posted a news release dated today, "NASA Comet Hunter Closing on Quarry."

Earlier report:  About Friday's comet flyby, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an article today, "UW astronomer leads NASA quest to capture comet dust," and the Associated Press has put out a story carried at many news sites, including at CNN today as "Craft poised to collect comet dust."

See the Major News Index for Stardust reports with more info and flyby previews.


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News briefs, part 2
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Hawaiian snows:  The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports today that "The Mauna Kea Access Road to the summit was closed above Hale Pohaku at the 9,000-foot elevation yesterday even to observatory personnel. . .  Road crews tried to clear the summit road yesterday, but drifts on the road up to 6 feet deep immediately built up again. . .  [The] picture was brighter at the summit of Haleakala on Maui, about 3,700 feet lower [where daytime temperatures] were about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, much too warm for snow and ice."

Quadrantids:  Nature Science Update posted an article today (dated tomorrow), "Dead comet spawned New Year meteors." For more info about all of this, including a link for downloading the referenced scientific paper, see A/CC items from December 10th and 17th telling about how the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, which comes this Sunday morning, January 4th, has been identified with the unusual asteroidal object 2003 EH1.


Risk monitoring 30 Dec.

The Tuesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2003 YD45 from Jornada and Siding Spring observatories yesterday in New Mexico and Australia, and today NEODyS removed its last impact solution for this quarter-kilometer object, while JPL further lowered its risk assessment.

Observations of 2003 YE45 were reported from Sandlot Observatory in Kansas from yesterday, and today NEODyS cut its impact solution count from 38 to eight in the years 2030 to 2072 and lowered its YE45 risk ratings, while JPL cut from 111 to just one low-rated solution in 2043.

No new data is reported in the DOU for 2003 YS70 or 2003 YG118.

1921 UTC update:  NEODyS has posted 2003 YK118, which was announced yesterday. New observations were not reported in today's DOU.


Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0215 UTC, 31 Dec

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2003 YS70 NEODyS 12/282057-20808-7.72-8.1504.992
JPL 12/282057-20856-7.97-8.3704.992
 2003 YK118 NEODyS 12/302009-207971-2.81-3.4301.146
 2003 YG118NEODyS 12/302033-207913-1.78-2.22012.089
JPL 12/302033-207512-2.04-2.46012.089
 2003 YE45 NEODyS 12/302030-20728-3.97-4.0007.997
JPL 12/302043-20431-6.07-6.0707.997
 2003 YD45NEODyS 12/30R E M O V E D
JPL 12/302074-20741-5.90-5.9009.344
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.

2344 UTC update:  NEODyS has joined JPL in posting 2003 YG118, which was also announced yesterday.


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