Tuesday30 March 20045:46pm MST2004-03-31 UTC 0046 back top next  
2004 FU4 from Isaac Newton Telescope 26 March 2004

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

Today's issue status: done, updated 31 March
  • News briefs – first 2004 amateur NEO discovery, Siding Spring & small object news & planetary status
    panel 2 – meteor news updated 31 March
  • Risk monitoring – NEODyS has posted 2004 FN18 & lowered 2004 FU4 to TS-0

Cover: This animation of 2004 FU4 from early on the March 26th is courtesy of Alan Fitzsimmons who, from Northern Ireland, directs the "NEO override" program that allows brief diversion of the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma in the Canary Islands for difficult high-priority targets. The observer at the telescope was Lee Clewley. For more about 2004 FU4, see below.

News briefs – panel 1/2 Major News for 30 March 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Amateur NEO discovery:  2004's first amateur-discovered NEO is 2004 FF29, announced today in MPEC 2004-F85 as found early Sunday from Crni Vrh Observatory in Slovenia by Herman Mikuz and Stanislav Maticic, and followed up there and by nine other observatories through this morning. It is estimated at roughly 810 meters/yards wide (H=18.1).

Siding Spring & small object news:  The 0.5m Uppsala Schmidt telescope, which recently went operational for the Siding Spring Survey (SSS) in Australia (see report in "Risk monitoring"), is credited with two NEO discoveries yesterday. MPEC 2004-F87 announces 2004 FH29, a small object (H=23.7, around 60 meters wide) predicted to pass Earth a bit beyond eight lunar distances (LD) next week. And MPEC 2004-F88 announces an NEO about three times larger, 2004 FJ29. Both were confirmed by SSS with the Siding Spring 1.0m telescope and by Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand. Also confirming 2004 FJ29 was Sabino Canyon Observatory in Arizona.

Francesco Manca tells A/CC that the Sormano Observatory SAEL page shows that another of the twenty-nines, 2004 FG29, will pass Earth at just over six LD on Friday. It appears to be roughly 20 meters wide and was discovered yesterday morning by LINEAR in New Mexico and announced today in MPEC 2004-F86 with confirmation from observatories in England, Kansas, and southern California.

Planetary status:  Catholic News has a report from yesterday, "Vatican scientist joins effort to define new object in solar system," about Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory:

One of the Vatican's top scientists has been chosen to be part of a five-man team [set up by the International Astronomical Union] to decide on an official definition of a planet [and whether Sedna] can join the solar system's planetary club. 

The Boston Globe reports today that this IAU working group has 12 members and is chaired by Iwan P. Williams. It "could make a recommendation within several months, but no formal approval will be made until the IAU's next general assembly in 2006."

more news briefs >>

News briefs – panel 2/2 Major News for 30 March 2004 back top next  

<< continued from panel 1

Meteor news:  As mentioned in A/CC March 25th coverage ("Fireball festival") of the northern prairie event(s) last Sunday evening (the 21st), a bright meteor was seen over central New Mexico early on the 20th. That is available from the Sandia All Sky Camera as a Quicktime 521Kb movie. Another bright meteor was picked up by Jim Gamble with his El Paso All Sky Meteor Camera late on the 23rd, now posted on his site as a 572Kb movie and composite JPEG. And the Sandia camera has yet another bright meteor from last evening, available as a 453Kb movie. The Sandia camera is on the south side of Albuquerque, and El Paso, Texas is about 220 miles (350 km.) due south of there. (Sandia movie links are temporary.)

The Scotsman has an article today about "Scotland's first recorded sighting of a meteorite," the 5 April 1804 fall at High Possil Quarry in Glasgow.

The quarrymen found a hole about 18in deep and 15in wide, and at the bottom there was a black rock, which they threw aside as they had been expecting to find a cannonball. 

The Evening Times reports that the High Possil meteorite will be on display at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow from Friday the 2nd through April.

The Daily Utah Chronicle has a report today about the Utah Museum of Natural History holding a "What's in Your Attic?" event where people could each bring in "three natural history objects to be examined by expert curators." One item was "an incredibly heavy meteorite brought in that somebody's grandfather saw hit in Layton 30 to 40 years ago."

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 30 March 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 30 March

NEODyS today posted 2004 FN18, which was announced yesterday in MPEC 2004-F80 as discovered Saturday morning by LINEAR in New Mexico and confirmed the next morning by Tenagra II Observatory in Arizona and yesterday morning with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope in Arizona. No further observations are reported in the Tuesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU). From its brightness, it is roughly estimated at 675 meters/yards wide.

The DOU carries observations of 2004 FU4 from the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope yesteray morning and from KLENOT in the Czech Republic early today. Both NEODyS and JPL today have lowered their ratings on an October 2010 impact solution, now putting it at Torino Scale 0 (TS-0, "no likely consequences"). NEODyS has cut its solution count for 2004 FU4 from 24 to six, and considerably lowered its overall risk ratings for this object. Meanwhile, JPL, looking 24 years beyond the NEODyS 2080 time horizon, increased its solution count from six to 27 and still has one solution rated at TS-1 (a routine alert that an object "merits special

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2359 UTC, 30 Mar




 2004 FU4 NEODyS 3/302010-20686-3.88-4.09010.595
JPL 3/302010-209527-1.52-1.64110.595
 2004 FN18 NEODyS 3/302026-20654-4.97-5.1202.024
 2004 FHJPL 3/242098-20981-7.25-7.2502.771
NEODyS 3/20R 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.

An "impact solution" (aka "virtual impactor" or "VI") is not a prediction but rather a possibility that hasn't been eliminated yet. See "Understanding Risk Pages" and other related links.

monitoring") in 2085. Beyond that, however, JPL has also lowered its overall risk ratings for this object that it estimates at about a half-mile (0.86 km.) wide.

It appears a corner has been turned in the night-and-day observation and analysis cycle for this object, which may become more apparent when the risk monitors update on post-DOU data from the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope and Jornada Observatory in New Mexico.

See a 2004 FU4 animation above from the 26th.

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