Wednesday21 January 20047:16pm MST2004-01-22 UTC 0216 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done, updated
  • German event by Sebastian Hoenig + news links
  • News briefs – Deep Impact, Kansas City event, Meteorite find & Hubble rescue?
    part 2 – dark skies, more about 2004 BV18
    & Spanish fireball update, pieces found?
  • Risk monitoring – four new observing campaigns

Cover image: Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC reports additional observations yesterday morning and last night of tiny 2004 BV18, including from Robert Hutsebaut in Belgium using a Rent-a-scope telescope at New Mexico Skies Observatory. He sent this stack of 24 frames from 0603 UT yesterday. The stack is centered on the fast moving 2004 BV18, and background stars appear as long strings of beads. See below for more about this tiny asteroid.

German fireball – part 1/1 Major News for 21 Jan. 2004 back top next  

German event  by Sebastian Hoenig

We had a large fireball event this morning in southwest Germany. I heard about it on a German radio station which had some news concerning this event. They also aired an interview with amateur astronomer, Thomas Felgner from Durmersheim Observatory near Karlsruhe, who was an eyewitness. He tells that the fireball was visible around 6:33am CET (0533 UT), passing northeast, and it was slightly brighter than the full Moon. Durmersheim has a meteor camera and Germany is crowded with these stations, so, if all went well, it might be on two to six cameras (see the DLR's European Fireball Net page).

Based on the areas where it was seen — Baden, Rheinhessen, and Rheingau up to Cologne — I would say that the direction was northwest rather than northeast.

News links – updated January 22nd

  • Expatica article 22 Jan., "Great balls of fire, it's a meteorite!
  • Associated Press wire story 21 Jan. on CNews, "Scientists investigating possible meteorite crash in southwestern Germany"
News briefs – part 1/2 Major News for 21 Jan. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Hubble rescue? has a report today, "Help for Hubble: Officials Mull Donations, Russian Service Mission." It reports that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) operator, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), "will set up a web site within a week or so to take suggestions from the public and to communicate the status of the effort to save Hubble." It quotes STScI director Steven Beckwith that "a lot of e-mail" has been received "from people who want to donate money to help keep Hubble alive," but "billionaires might be needed." And, further, that "we're going to take all ideas and put them on the table," including about how to extend the HST's life without a service mission.

The Baltimore Sun has an article today, "Scientists mourn early demise of Hubble," that reports the two new custom-built instruments that were to be installed — "the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) — have already been built at a cost of $167 million."

Kansas City event:  An Internet Broadcasting Systems story carried by many television stations, such as KSAT-TV San Antonio today and KMBC-TV Kansas City yesterday (both with video), reports that a Kansas City business security camera recorded "an object that appears to be slowly falling in the sky around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 14." NORAD reportedly didn't track any re-entering space debris.

Meteorite find:  BBC has a report today, "New Mars rock hints at past water," about NWA 1950, one of the meteorites found by a team led by Bruno Fectay and Carine Bidaut (bio). It has been identified as coming from Mars, and is reported to be a magmatic type matched with an Antarctic meteorite.

Deep Impact:  NASA headquarters put out a news release yesterday, "Last Two Weeks To Make A 'Deep Impact' On A Comet," about putting your name aboard the Deep Impact spacecraft to self-destruct July 4th next year on comet 9P/Tempel 1 [link|alt]. The mission's December newsletter shows an examination of the impactor's internals at Ball Aerospace.

News briefs continued>>

News briefs – part 2/2 Major News for 21 Jan. 2004 back top next  

<<continued from part 1

More about 2004 BV18:  A University of Arizona news release today tells about the discovery of 2004 BV18 (see A/CC's report yesterday) by Stu Megan, a semi-retired IT professional who lives in Arizona. He, like many of the 30 online volunteers in the U.S., Germany, and Finland, is an amateur astronomer, but Spacewatch director Robert McMillan says some "have just begun to climb the learning curve." Megan has scanned nearly 6500 images in three months and tells A/CC that a broadband connection is a must.

2004 BV18 was first confirmed yesterday morning by Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) and Hope and Powell observatories. Missing discovery MPEC 2004-B23, but in today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC, were observations also from yesterday morning from Table Mountain Observatory and from Robert Hutsebaut, whose his work is on today's "cover" above. Sormano Observatory caught it last night, and Francesco Manca there notes that BV18 has been added to Sormano's list of asteroids that would be categorized as "potentially hazardous" if larger.

Spanish fireball update:  Thanks to Pepe Manteca for Spanish news links from yesterday, such as at El Mundo (photo) and IBL News, about the first verified meteorite that may be associated with the January 4th fireball (news thread). Two small pieces were reported found by journalist Abel Tarilonte on a rural road during a 9-10 January search in the mountains of northern Palencia province in north central Spain.

Dark skies:  The Fort Bend, Texas Herald-Coaster has an article from yesterday, "Residents, officials study proposed lighting reg." A proposal calling for "lighting shields on various types of lights in the unincorporated area of Fort Bend County near the George Observatory" has been proposed by Fort Bend Astronomy Club member Philip Inderwiezen, a resident of the area near Brazos Bend State Park, where George Observatory is located. It has the support of Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Stavinoha. About enforcement, "Stavinoha said rather than sending Sheriff's deputies to seek lighting violations, the county could act on complaints made by the George Foundation."

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 21 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 21 Jan.

As with yesterday's Daily Orbit Update MPEC, today's DOU does not report observations of the four objects currently in view that have impact solutions, and today the European Spaceguard Central Node (SCN) posted an observing campaign for all four, noting that 2004 BJ11 and BV1 will require the participation of "medium size facilities at least," and 2004 BW1 is difficult, but 2004 BE11 will be "accessible to a large number of observers" for a few days. SCN comments that just one set of observations each for 2004 BJ11 and BW1 might remove all their impact solutions.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0009 UTC, 22 Jan




 2004 BW1 NEODyS 1/192010-20646-5.83-6.2501.885
 2004 BV1 NEODyS 1/192015-207511-4.07-4.5903.063
JPL 1/192015-2103105-3.39-4.0303.063
 2004 BJ11 NEODyS 1/192020-20689-6.61-7.0701.035
JPL 1/192017-210387-5.72-6.6401.035
 2004 BE11 NEODyS 1/192031-20582-6.31-6.4001.085
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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