Tuesday13 April 20048:15pm MDT2004-04-14 UTC 0215 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done
  • News briefs – comet news, Rosetta status & readings
  • Risk monitoring – JPL has removed 2004 FU4 & posted 2004 GB2 & 2004 GE2

Cover: Small object 2004 GD2 was announced today in MPEC 2004-G28 as having been discovered early yesterday by LINEAR in New Mexico and confirmed overnight from eight other observing facilities, including, as seen here, by Robert Hutsebaut using a rented telescope at New Mexico Skies. This is a stack of four frames, each of 20 seconds exposure, and stars appear as bead strings. The MPC puts 2004 GD2's absolute magnitude at H=24.2, which converts to roughly 50 meters/yards wide, and has it at a distance of about ten lunar distances from Earth from yesterday through Thursday.

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 13 April 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Comet news:  John Bortle told the Comets Mailing List yesterday that C/2004 F4 (Bradfield) may not survive perihelion if its initial magnitude and orbit calculation are "reasonably correct." See yesterday about the discovery, and here's more news:

  • Cosmic Mirror Update #276, "Bradfield finds another comet, will get bright, but only for SOHO"
  • Sky & Tel. today, "Bradfield Discovers His 18th Comet"
  • Space.com today, "New Comet Set for Live Internet Show"

The German Comet Section news page has a call for support of XMM Newton X-ray space telescope C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) observations during 7-8 May.

Rosetta status:  The Rosetta comet mission issued a status report today [URL fixed] for 3-9 April, "Science Payload Milestone," reporting that "all scientific instruments have been activated at least once since the beginning of the mission," and that communications priority "has been returned to Mars Express." On the 9th, the Rosetta spacecraft was inside Earth's orbit, more than 34 lunar distances away.

Readings:  Gordon Garradd was interviewed on the Australian "AM" radio show today (transcript) about the Siding Spring Survey (SSS), called "an absolutely positive good news story" by the show's host.

Terrible news would be the result of a 45-meter-wide asteroid dropping into Oxford Circus, according to a BBC report today based on taking a test drive with the University of Arizona's new Earth Impact Effects calculator page (see A/CC links).

The Arizona Daily Wildcat, campus publication of the University of Arizona, has an article today, "New Mt. Graham mirror will help UA look deep into space," telling about installation of the first 8.4m mirror of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBTO). See also a UA April 7th news release and Tucson Citizen April 9th report. The Wildcat article goes on to tell of an ongoing cultural and environmental conflict over use of Mount Graham for astronomy. In Hawaii, similar eco-cultural problems threaten Pan-STARRS, expansion of the Keck Observatory, and other astronomical projects (for instance, see this March 2nd report).

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 13 April 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 13 April

The Tuesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC carries observations from yesterday morning of 2004 FU4 from the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope on Kitt Peak, and from the 1.8m Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mount Graham, both in southern Arizona. Today JPL removed its last impact solutions for this object, which had been listed since March 22nd (for awhile at Torino Scale 1), and hadn't been reported seen since April 1st.

It was Bill Ryan of New Mexico Tech with student Quentin Jamieson who did the VATT observing — "a bit of quick astrometry in between objects on our Vesta family project," he tells A/CC. "I noticed that it hadn't been observed in a while [so] we took a couple frames on our way by to another photometric target."

Three asteroid announcement MPECs have been issued today so far, all from discoveries made yesterday morning and confirmed overnight. The LINEAR discovery is on the cover above, and two discovered with NEAT's Mt. Palomar telescope in southern

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0210 UTC, 14 Apr




 2004 GE2JPL 4/132090-210312-4.86-5.3101.122
 2004 GB2JPL 4/132006-20061-5.89-5.8901.105
 2004 FU4JPL 4/13R 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.

California have now both landed on the JPL Current Impact Risks page with a few low-rated impact solutions. JPL puts 2004 GB2 (MPEC 2004-G27) at about 260 meters/yards wide, and 2004 GE2 (MPEC 2004-G29) at about 170.

The Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) and Table Mountain and Sabino Canyon observatories participated in confirming both objects. KLENOT and Desert Moon Observatory joined in on 2004 GB2, as did Consell Observatory, LONEOS, and Ryan and Jamieson with the VATT for 2004 GE2.

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