Sunday4 January 20041:55am MST 5 Jan.2004-01-05 UTC 0855 back top next  

Screen shot from EasySky showing Earth's neighborhood today with the known smallest asteroids (absolute magnitude H>22.0) as green dots. The eight with observations reported last week are circled in red and shown with their orbits. For more info, see the seven-day report below.

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

Today's issue status: done
  • Small objects
    A/CC's seven-day report of discovery and follow-up of Earth's smallest neighbors
  • News briefs
    Spanish fireballs, comet news,
    Stardust & Iran meteor impact?
  • Risk monitoring
    NEODyS and JPL have removed 2003 YK118
Small Objects – part 1/1 Major News for 4 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Small objects

Since A/CC Major News reported a week ago about the smallest near-Earth asteroids (H>22.0), the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has announced two more: 2003 2003 YR117 (H=22.9) and 2003 YG136 (H=25.3), discovered less than ten minutes apart by LINEAR early December 28th. YR117 was announced the next day in MPEC 2003-Y89 with confirmation from Sabino Canyon and Sandlot observatories. It was also reported 29-31 December and 2-3 January by LINEAR and the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), and by Powell, Petit Jean Mountain, Guidestar (three days), and Begues observatories.

2003 YG136 was announced on the 31st in MPEC 2003-Y97, with confirmation from LINEAR, the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM),

Absolute magnitude (H) greater than 22.0 translates to less than a median rough width estimate of 135 meters/yards by a standard conversion formula, but could be as as large as 240 meters. Higher H means smaller size, down to as small as H=30.1, which is perhaps three meters wide. (All magnitudes used in this report are as reported by the MPC.)

and Powell and Wykrota observatories. OAM also reported it New Year's morning.

Other H>22.0 objects watched during this period were 2003 WH166 (H=22.2), reported by Jornada Observatory and the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope December 29th, 2003 YH111 (H=24.5) was caught by LINEAR and Great Shefford Observatory the 28th and the next morning by Robert Hutsebaut via New Mexico Skies Observatory (see report), but hasn't been reported since. Siding Spring Observatory watched 2003 YN107 (H=26.7) the 30th and January 1st and 3rd, and 2003 YP94 (H=23.8) was spotted by Desert Moon and Mt. John observatories January 2nd, when Desert Moon also got 2003 YT70 (H=25.7). Finally, 2003 YW1 (H=22.8) was last reported by Desert Moon and the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope on the 29th.

Prominently missing is the tiny 2003 YS70 (H=28.8), which has disappeared into the dark with impact solutions and without a solid orbit calculation. It was predicted to go out of view January 2nd but was last reported seen early on December 27th.

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 4 Jan. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Iran meteor impact?  First reported January 2nd by Reuters UK as "Meteorite hits Iran," a site called IranMania reports today, "Comet falls on house in Northern Iran," quoting the house owner as saying

"I woke up in the morning and suddenly saw an amazing light which was moving toward the house, just then I heard a horrible crash and when I came to myself I found our house totally destroyed." [The house] was ruined and damages were inflicted on the neighboring houses. However no casualty has been reported. 

Comet news:  The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams has made public IAUC 8250 of December 4th reporting the apparent confirmation of the breakup of comet C/2002 O7 (LINEAR) [link|alt].

Stardust:  Some additional Stardust comet flyby news links: an Open University news release posted yesterday at, "Close Encounter of a Cometary Kind," and a article January 2nd, "Quarry in Tow, Stardust Begins Long Journey Home."

Spanish fireballs:  A news link at El Mundo [the headline and text changed with updated reporting] tells in Spanish that hundreds of people reported seeing fireballs crossing the sky from northwestern Spain and across much of the country toward the Mediterranean Sea early this evening. There are associated reports of intense noise, pieces landing, and probably unrelated fires. (This was A/CC's 2237 UTC report, which followed a news flash posted just before 2200, thanks to a tip that came via Reiner Stoss from Jaime Nomen, who heard about it from his wife, Ana — both in Spain but not witnesses.)

Reuter's AlertNet has a report from late Sunday, "Hundreds see fireballs fall from sky in Spain": The bright flashes were spotted at around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT). See also Australia's The Age January 5th, "Great balls of fire over Spain."

Thanks to Rafael Ferrando for these early Monday news links in Spain at Las Provincias, "Un meteorito de mas de 50 toneladas siembra la alarma de Galicia a Valencia," and Mediterraneo, "La lluvia de meteoritos sorprende a los vecinos de la provincia de Castellon."

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 4 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 4 Jan.

The Sunday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2003 YK118 from Etscorn (New Mexico), Siding Spring (Australia), and Consell (Spain) observatories yesterday, and from Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain this morning. And today both NEODyS and JPL removed their last impact solution for this three-quarter kilometer object.

The DOU also has positions reported for 2003 YH136 from Siding Spring yesterday, and today both risk monitors slightly lowered their risk ratings for this half-kilometer object, and NEODyS cut down to only one impact solution.

2003 YS70 is now out of view, and the DOU doesn't have new data for 2003 YD45, which is reported to go out of view before the end of this month.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0517 UTC, 5 Jan




 2003 YS70 NEODyS 12/282057-20808-7.72-8.1504.992
JPL 12/282057-20856-7.97-8.3704.992
 2003 YK118JPL 1/4R E M O V E D
 2003 YH136 NEODyS 1/42031-20311-3.23-3.2306.318
JPL 1/42031-20573-3.09-3.3306.318
 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.
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