Saturday3 January 20046:36pm MST2004-01-04 UTC 0136 back top next  

Three comet nuclei: At left, 1P/Halley imaged by ESA Giotto on 13 March 1986, image courtesy of ESA. At lower right, 19P/Borrelly imaged by NASA DS-1 on 22 September 2001, image courtesy of NASA/JPL. And, at top right, 81P/Wild 2 imaged yesterday by NASA Stardust, image courtesy of NASA/JPL.

The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors

Today's issue status: done
News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 3 Jan. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Stardust:  One day after Stardust's comet 81P/Wild 2 flyby, widespread coverage includes an Associated Press wire story carried at many news outlets, such as the San Jose Mercury News today as "Spacecraft swoops past distant comet on dust-collecting quest." It reports that more photos "would likely be released to the public Monday." The Atlantic Journal-Constitution has an article today, "NASA's Stardust on a winning streak." And the Rocky Mountain News has an article today, "Spacecraft nabs comet stardust," telling about Colorado participation in the mission.

Comet precovery:  MPEC 2004-A18 today reports that Maik Meyer found P/2003 UD16 (LONEOS) in Mt. Palomar 1.2m Oschin telescope plate scans from 17 December 1989 and 19 February 1999. And IAUC 8248 of December 3rd was just made public, telling how UD16, an "apparently asteroidal object with not-unusual motion, found by LONEOS on Oct. 16" was caught by Carl Hergenrother showing a coma November 30th. See also an A/CC December 4th news item.

Comet updates:  The Minor Planet Center (MPC) today issued update MPECs for ten comets currently in view, from C/2003 T2 (LINEAR) through P/2003 XD10 (LINEAR-NEAT). In an Observations of Comets MPEC with astrometry reported since December 25th, there are further observations of 81P/Wild 2 [link|alt] from amateur observatories Badlands December 25th and 29th in South Dakota and Loomberah on the 25th. There are also positions reported from December 18th from the 200-inch (5.08m) telescope on Mt. Palomar. These and observations A/CC noted yesterday, and apparently more data not yet reported through the MPC, were used by JPL to plot the final course of the Stardust spacecraft to yesterday's 81P/Wild 2 flyby.

Meteorite find:  Australia's has a report tomorrow, "Scientists find Mars meteorite," saying it was just announced that two meteorites "weighing 414 and 383 grams" found by a French "team led by Carine Bidaut and Bruno Fectay . . . in the Atlas mountains of southern Morocco in January and March 2001" are "magmatic rocks" believed now to be from Mars.

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 3 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 3 Jan.

The Saturday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2003 YH136 from Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand yesterday, and from Begues Observatory in Spain this morning (see image below). Today both NEODyS and JPL slightly lowered their risk ratings for this half-kilometer object.

2003 YH136 imaged 3 Jan. 2004
by Begues Observatory

The DOU also reports positions for 2003 YK118 from early yesterday from McCarthy Observatory in Connecticut and LINEAR in New Mexico, and this morning from Guidestar and Begues observatories and the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) in Europe. Today NEODyS reduced its YK118 risk assessment to one lower-rated impact solution.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2302 UTC, 3 Jan




 2003 YS70 NEODyS 12/282057-20808-7.72-8.1504.992
JPL 12/282057-20856-7.97-8.3704.992
 2003 YK118JPL 1/32006-20061-1.50-1.5005.773
 NEODyS 1/32006-20061-1.89-1.8905.773
 2003 YH136 NEODyS 1/32031-20574-2.96-3.1705.677
JPL 1/32031-20573-2.93-3.2005.677
 2003 YD45JPL 1/32074-20741-6.33-6.33010.354
NEODyS 12/30R E M O V E D
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.

Left: Begues Observatory image from frames stacked on 2003 YH136's motion. Background stars appear as streaks.

Update:  JPL's new assessment today for 2003 YK118 converges with NEODyS results, both now down to one impact solution a bit more than 25 months from now. And JPL has re-posted 2003 YD45 with a single low-rated impact solution after today's DOU reported a set of observations from December 21st from Andrushivka Observatory in the Ukraine.
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