Tuesday24 February 20047:23pm MST2004-02-25 UTC 0223 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done

Cover: The Rosetta Philae comet lander seen close from above, with protective panels removed, "a few moments before" the aerodynamic fairing was installed around the Rosetta spacecraft atop its Ariane 5 launcher. See image below showing how the lander is stashed in one side of the comet orbiter, and see last Thursday's cover for another viewpoint. Launch is scheduled for early Thursday morning. Image ©Copyright 2004 ESA.

Rosetta – part 1/1 Major News for 24 Feb. 2004 back top next  

Right: The Philae comet lander mounted in one side of the Rosetta comet orbiter. (The other long sides have folded solar panels and a large antenna dish.) Many protective coverings on the orbiter and lander are still in place in these photos. Two of the three folded landing legs are clearly in view, and also the harpoons under the lander body. Big image, left inset (harpoons), right inset, and artist concept ©Copyright 2003-2004 ESA.

Rosetta lander (c)ESA
Rosetta at a day-plus

An Arianespace Mission Update yesterday said "Preparations for Arianespace Flight 158 entered their final phase today following completion of the launch readiness review [for] a very specific launch slot" at 4:36:49am (0736:49 UT) Thursday.
      A Lockheed Martin news release yesterday tells about its Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) and says "Rosetta carries more instruments than any previous scientific spacecraft."

News briefs – part 1/1 Major News for 24 Feb. 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Planetary defense:  Space.com has an article today, "Planetary Defense: Planning with Phantom Asteroids," telling about the Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids being held 23-26 February in Garden Grove, California by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and sponsored by the Aerospace Corporation. An Associated Press wire story at many news sites today, including CNN, also tells about the conference.

The Space.com report mentions the situation with, and controversy over, AL00667 — temporary discovery designation for 2004 AS1 (see Major News Index), and a BBC article today tells that in this case some professional astronomers considered warning the White House that an impact could be imminent.

2004 DW:  Sky & Telescope has an item dated yesterday about 2004 DW, "A New Kuiper Belt Giant." See the A/CC Major News Index for more about this.

more news briefs >>

Deep Impact:  The Deep Impact mission has posted its February newsletter with an interview with systems engineer Don Hampton, and a report that "In mid-January we finally determined how we would deal with all" of a variety of computer problems. Some fixes involve modifying circuit boards, and others use workarounds implemented in software. "We anticipate getting the computers back in February and integrating them into the spacecraft."

Main Belt news:  Ulrich Wolff tells via Arnie Rosner that he followed-up Main Belt asteroid discovery (2004 CU50, report) on the 20th, and now the Minor Planet Center has linked more observations back to LINEAR data from 28 February and 6 March 2000.

Note: A/CC's first report said "the MPC is no longer showing [Wolff's] own first observation as the discovery of record." Veteran observers Peter Birtwhistle, Sebastian Hoenig, and Reiner Stoss quickly corrected this point. First, the Minor Planet Ephemeris Service (MPES) doesn't flag the discovery observation for objects seen at more than one opposition. Second, if an older discovery is given precedence, the primary IAU designation changes, and this object retains as primary its year-2004 designation. Hoenig, incidentally, located 2004 CU50 NEAT/Palomar archive observations from Aug.-Sept. 2002

News briefs – part 2/2 Major News for 24 Feb. 2004 back top next  

<< continued from part 1

Robot news:  Liverpool John Moores University has a news release today, "World's largest robotic telescope," about completion of construction on the Yunnan 2.4m Telescope at the school's subsidiary Telescope Technologies Ltd (TTL). It will now to be dissasembled and moved to the new Gao Meigu Observatory in southwestern China. BBC has a news item today, and see a TTL page about construction last August. An icLiverpool article today says this telescope "will be linked to three other TTL-built telescopes — the Faulkes I telescope on Maui, Hawaii, the Liverpool JMU Telescope on La Palma and the Faulkes II telescope in Australia. This will form a global network capable of monitoring moving objects 24 hours a day" (see an A/CC report about those telescopes).

Colorado fireballs:  Chris Peterson is a science teacher who coordinates fireball reports for the greater Colorado area on behalf of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He brings to A/CC's attention a report he has posted of a 1:26am February 9th "rapid, explosive meteor [that] was captured by several allsky cameras" (shown overhead from a camera at Alamosa High School). No witness reports have been received, but the cameras provide good triangulation for an unusually high-altitude breakup. There is a "good possibility" for meteorites, and a map shows where they most likely fell. (He cautions that "This area is mostly privately owned ranch land, and any meteorites here belong to the landowners.")

About the Januarly 11th event (see Major News Index), he says the investigation continues: "This one is extremely interesting since the path is well known, but the deceleration profile is very hard to explain, there is extraordinary infrasound data, and the fireball was seen by several hundred witnesses traveling quite far after significant trailing ceased. I hope to have a more detailed report posted soon."

Risk monitoring - part 1/1 Major News for 24 Feb. 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 24 Feb.

NEODyS today posted 2004 DV24, which was announced yesterday in MPEC 2004-D33 as discovered Saturday with NEAT's telescope on Haleakala in Hawaii and confirmed that night by Andrushivka Observatory in the Ukraine and by the German Starkenburg Observatory team using the Madrid Observatory 1.52m telescope at Calar Alto in Spain. Confirmation was closed out yesterday with the Haleakala telescope joined that morning by the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) and Princeton's Fitz-Randolph Observatory in New Jersey. The MPEC puts this rather highly inclined (i=57.1°) object's absolute magnitude (brightness) at H=16.7, while JPL puts it at H=16.46, which converts by standard formula to be on the order of 1.73 km. (1.07 miles) wide.

No objects with impact solutions were reported in the Tuesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2359 UTC, 24 Feb




 2004 DV24 NEODyS 2/242008-207427-2.48-3.1001.948
 2004 DC NEODyS 2/222013-208047-2.77-3.5005.741
JPL 2/222013-210150-2.12-2.7505.741
 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.
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