Saturday14 February 20046:14pm MST2004-02-15 UTC 0114 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done, updated 2x
  • News briefs – comet watching, Hubble news & Lowell DCT
  • Risk monitoring – NEODyS has removed 2004 CB & radically revised its 2004 BG121 assessment

Cover: One year ago yesterday, 2003 CP20 [link|alt] was announced in MPEC 2003-C63 as the first minor object known to travel completely inside Earth's orbit, discovered two days earlier by LINEAR. It is seen at left in sixty 30-second exposures over a 42-minute period by and ©Copyright Stefano Sposetti at Gnosca Observatory in Switzerland on 19 February 2003 (used with permission). The right-hand image is a stack of the 60 frames centered on the object's motion, so it appears as a point of light and stars as streaks, while the other stack shows 2003 CP20 as a streak in the sky.

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 14 Feb. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Comet watching:  2004 could be called "The Year of the Comet" because of three comet missions — Stardust at 81P/Wild 2 last month with analysis and images yet to come, Rosetta launching later this month, and Deep Impact launching later this year, and because of at least two potentially spectacular visual comets coming this May — C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) [link|alt] and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) [link|alt]. Both are presently viewable with binoculars, C/2001 Q4 in the southern hemisphere and C/2002 T7 in the northern. has posted a finder chart for C/2002 T7. It is still just a "fuzz ball" in binoculars, and requires CCD telescope photography to detect detail. See Peter Birtwhistle's C/2002 T7 page for a February 7th image, and February 11th imagery at La Canada Observatory.

Hubble news:  The Baltimore Sun has an article from yesterday in which Presidential science adviser John H. Marburger III told the House Science Committee "that new technologies for telescopes in space and on the ground will do as well as or better than Hubble in some key areas of astronomy," a point sharply disputed by the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute. And Sky & Telescope had a February 10th update on the Hubble issue, "Hubble Debate Heats Up."

Lowell DCT:  The Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun has an article from yesterday, "Assessment for $30M telescope begins," about the public comment phase of the U.S. Forest Service environmental assessment for the proposed Happy Jack site south of Flagstaff for Lowell Observatory's planned 4m Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). It says the DCT "will make it possible to identify" about 2,300 near-Earth asteroids per month.

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 14 Feb. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 14 Feb.

The Saturday Daily Orbit Update MPEC has observation of 2004 CB from Consell Observatory in Spain from early yesterday. Today NEODyS removed its last impact solutions for this object, and JPL has only one solution remaining, in 2097, beyond the NEODyS time horizon.

0042 UTC news flash:  NEODyS has updated its risk assessment for 2004 BG121 by throwing out the last three observations in discovery MPEC 2004-C38. Without newer observations, this cuts the observing arc from 10.988 to 0.934 days. And it jumps the NEODyS solution count from 39 to 123, but slightly lowers overall risk ratings for this object at NEODyS.

Update:  JPL hasn't re-posted 2004 BG121, but its NEO Orbital Elements page is now also showing a one-day observing arc for this object, and with one less observation than NEODyS shows.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2358 UTC, 14 Feb




 2004 CBNEODyS 2/14R E M O V E D
JPL 2/142097-20971-3.31-3.31010.719
 2004 BN41JPL 1/312086-20982-6.57-6.6906.998
 2004 BG121 NEODyS 2/142005-2080123-3.65-3.9400.934
JPL 2/13R 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.   [ top ]
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