Wednesday28 January 200411:20pm MST2004-01-29 UTC 0620 back top next  

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


Today's issue status: done
yesterdayJanuarytomorrowIndex

Cover: Continuing an adaptive optics (AO) theme from the last two "covers," today's image is of Main Belt asteroid 511 Davida [link|alt], which is about 320 km. (200 miles) wide. It is seen here looking down on its north pole from the 10m Keck II telescope on 26 December 2002. "At that time, Davida's angular diameter was . . . about the size of a quarter as seen from a distance of 18 kilometers (11 miles)." Image courtesy of W.M. Keck Observatory, at which link you will find details and an animation of one complete 5.1-hour rotation.

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 28 Jan. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Spacecraft computers:  Space.com has an article today telling about the RAD6000 computer on the two Mars Exploration Rovers, with much of the information also applying to the Stardust comet mission. For more info, see A/CC January 24th news links.

Spitzer observing:  The Spitzer Science Center this week posted version 3 of its Observation Planning Cookbook. Chapter 9 (HTML or 1.5Mb PDF), "Photometry of Moving Object Centaur 5145 Pholus using MIPS," gives an example of how to use the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST). It notes that the Multiband Imaging Photometer for SIRTF (MIPS) "is the only Spitzer imaging instrument that really can make observations of these cool,dark things in a reasonable exposure time."

The Spitzer Proposal Submission Guide says "All Ph.D.-level astronomers from anywhere in the world are eligible to apply for the use of Spitzer time." The cookbook should also be interesting to those who will delve into Spitzer's future public archive.

Hubble & NASA refocus:  The Christian Science Monitor has an article today, "At NASA, dilemmas of transformation." And a Mars Society policy statement dated January 24th gives in lengthy detail a generally supportive review of President Bush's attempt to make NASA's new purpose be establishing "a human presence throughout the solar system." However, the society's leadership doesn't mince words about opposing the decision to discontinue Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions: "it is difficult to understand how an agency which is too risk adverse to undertake a Shuttle mission to Hubble could possibly be serious in considering a mission to the Moon or Mars."

NASA chief Sean O'Keefe testified before a Senate committee today, as Reuters UK reports. His prepared statement at SpaceRef.com repeats the commitment that, "Over the next two decades, NASA will conduct an increasingly capable campaign of robotic exploration across the solar system [including] the asteroids, and other solar system bodies to search for evidence of life, understand the history of the solar system, and search for resources."

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 28 Jan. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 28 Jan.

There were observations reported through the Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC for only eight unnumbered objects, none of them currently listed with impact solutions.

The Minor Planet Center's Last Observation page, however, is showing an almost complete sweep from Arizona this morning, when 2004 BV1, BN41 and BO41 were caught with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope, and 2004 BU58 and 2004 BW58 were picked up by Tenagra II Observatory.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0617 UTC, 29 Jan

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 BW58JPL 1/252013-21028-6.11-6.5901.841
 2004 BV1NEODyS 1/27R E M O V E D
JPL 1/272078-21008-5.75-6.32011.075
 2004 BU58 NEODyS 1/252009-20186-4.57-4.9300.994
 2004 BO41JPL 1/262031-20311-3.99-3.9905.769
 2004 BN41JPL 1/262098-20981-6.56-6.5601.740
 2003 YG118JPL 1/252087-20871-4.02-4.02037.665
NEODyS 12/31R 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.
Eary 28 Jan. 2004 MPC Sky Coverage
chart for Spacewatch 1.8m telescope

David Dixon comments:  Looks like Spacewatch had a good night. The Last Observation page today shows SW observations for 18 NEOs on the 28th, 12 of them dimmer than 21V. Looking at the MPC Sky Coverage graphic [see at right], they weren't in scan mode; they had 22 distinct fields covered, apparently doing targeted follow-up or recovery.

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