Wednesday4 February 20044:59pm MST2004-02-04 UTC 2359 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done

Cover image: Comet or asteroid? A very few objects are designated as both, including 133P/Elst-Pizarro (P/1996 N2) which is the same as 7968 Elst-Pizarro (1979 OW). This object in a normal Main Belt orbit was caught displaying comet-like activity in 1996 (IAUC 6456), as seen in this Sormano Observatory image from August 22nd (credited to F. Manca, M. Cavagna, P.Sicoli, P. Chiavenna, V. Giuliani). It was thought the tail might have been dust raised in an asteroid collision, but prolonged activity and other clues argued otherwise.

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

Impact theory:  Two rather different articles under Steven Connor's byline appear at the Independent of England today, "Collision with comet may have hastened first plague epidemic," and The New Zealand Herald tomorrow, "Plague outbreak blamed on comet strike." Both, especially the latter, expand on news yesterday from Cardiff University, about modeling how a small comet might explode in the high atmosphere, affecting worldwide weather without leaving a crater.

Rosetta: has an article today previewing the Rosetta comet mission, now three weeks away from launch, telling about some of its instruments, about its use of solar power far from the Sun, and about the unknowns of landing on a comet.

Hubble:  A article today, "NASA Firm on Hubble Decision but Would Listen to Options," quotes NASA Associate Administrator for Science, Ed Weiler, as agreeing with the decision not to service Hubble, and notes that the new NASA budget leaves Hubble funding and staffing in place and solidify's funding for Hubble's replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope.

TechTV from yesterday has an ABC News report about the issue with this aside:

Michael Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, used Hubble to spot a massive asteroid nearly the size of Pluto in 2002. He recently made another, as yet unannounced, discovery using the space telescope. 
Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 4 Feb. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 4 Feb.

The Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of 2004 BG86 from early yesterday at La Palma in the Canary Islands, and today NEODyS and JPL removed all impact solutions for this object. The DOU also has observation of 2004 BB103 from LINEAR yesterday morning in New Mexico, and today both risk monitors cut their impact solution counts while raising their overall assessments.

The other objects currently in view and listed with impact solutions are not reported, but follow-up observing slows during the time of the full Moon.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2354 UTC, 4 Feb




 2004 BZ74 NEODyS 2/32016-208022-2.65-3.1105.393
JPL 2/32016-209422-2.44-2.7405.393
 2004 BN41JPL 1/312086-20982-6.57-6.6906.998
 2004 BG86JPL 2/4R E M O V E D
 2004 BE68 NEODyS 2/32008-208055-2.63-3.3305.390
JPL 2/32016-210245-2.69-3.4705.390
 2004 BB103 NEODyS 2/42009-208070-1.73-2.3403.050
JPL 2/42009-2103103-1.32-1.7803.050
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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