Thursday5 February 20045:23pm MST2004-02-06 UTC 0023 back top next  

D/1999 S4 (LINEAR) on 5 August 2000 from the Hubble Space Telescope
Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (image flipped horizontally)

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

Today's issue status: done

Cover: When it was reported from the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma that the nucleus of comet D/1999 S4 (LINEAR) couldn't be found August 1st, Hubble took a look. A Space Telescope Science Institute August 7th news release caption said the pieces seen here from Hubble "are thought to be less than 100 feet [33 meters] across. The farthest fragment to the [right], which is now very faint, may be the remains of the parent nucleus." Credit: NASA, Harold Weaver (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and HST Comet LINEAR Investigation Team. The image has been flipped to more closely match ground-based east-is-left imagery, such as the January 23rd cover.

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 5 Feb. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Rosetta:  The European Space Agency announced today that the Rosetta comet lander has been named "Philae" after the Egyptian island and obelisk that played a role in the Rosetta stone story about learning how to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. (The lander was previously sometimes called "RoLand.")

The Rosetta Journal has an entry today, "Rosetta Fuelled," saying that "that the spacecraft was fully fuelled with MMH and pressurised" January 28th. MMH is monomethyl hydrazine. See also an Arianespace January 29th mission update about this procedure, and A/CC news links about a controversy involving Rosetta fuel last Spring.

Reading:  An Astronomy Magazine article from December 23rd by Dan Durda and Alan Stern, "Astronomy from the edge of space," tells about the experience of doing astronomy from the back seat of a NASA F/A-18B Hornet jet as part of their search for theoretical Vulcanoid asteroids.

Numberings:  The Minor Planet Center today updated its Discovery Circumstances page with 5,448 new asteroid numberings, now topping out at 79804.

Amateur honor:  Here is a bit of rather late news that just came to A/CC's attention, an Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) July 2003 news release, "2003 ASP Award Winners:"

The Amateur Achievement Award goes to an amateur astronomer who has made significant observational or technical achievements. This yearís winner, Kyle Smalley, has been deeply involved in the study of near-Earth asteroids, mainly by providing timely observations that guaranteed that more than 300 fast-moving and faint objects have firm orbits. As a member of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, Smalley spent hundreds of hours taking CCD images, mainly with the societyís 0.75-meter reflector at Powell Observatory. Smalley also developed search procedures to recover near-Earth asteroids that had been lost for years after their initial discovery. Smalley remains an amateur astronomer despite recently being hired as a temporary consultant at the International Astronomical Unionís Minor Planet Center (MPC). There, at the nexus of asteroid discovery, he advises amateurs and computes orbits.

Past recipients include Syuichi Nakano and David Levy.

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 5 Feb. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 5 Feb.

Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC carries no observations of objects currently in view that have impact solutions, or, for that matter, any year 2004-designated objects. Discovery and follow-up observing of near-Earth objects may slow considerably during the time of the full Moon.

2151 UTC update:  JPL has posted 2004 CB which was announced today in MPEC 2004-C16 as discovered Tuesday morning by LINEAR in New Mexico and confirmed last night by Gnosca Observatory in Switzerland and this morning by Table Mountain Observatory in southern California. From its brightness (H=18.0), it is roughly estimated by standard formula to be about 850 meters/yards wide.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2358 UTC, 5 Feb




 2004 CBJPL 2/52011-210297-2.48-3.2302.140
 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 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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