The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors
Today's issue status: done & updated 2x
|News briefs – panel 1/1||Major News for 20 April 2004|
Comet news: "Elvis has left the building" (see images and more info above) with now just the long tail of comet C/2004 F4 (Bradfield) still in view from the SOHO LASCO C3 coronagraph. One can only wonder at the surprise of the SOHO regulars, who hunt small dim Sun-diving comets, if C/2004 F4 had heaved into view without warning from William Bradfield or some other southern Hemisphere early-morning sky watcher.
There is no evidence yet for fading or disruption, so the big question is how visible C/2004 F4 will become in the next few days (see a BBC item today and a sky chart at SpaceWeather.com). Maik Meyer tells A/CC that it may be possible for an experienced observer to see this comet soon, even now, but it "will be no easy object."
Two other comets that are beginning to put on what's hoped will be their best shows, C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), are the subject of a new page posted by Gianluca Masi and Franco Mallia for images they made remotely with the Southern
Bits & pieces: The Namibian has an article at AllAfrica.com today, "Meteorite Smuggling Case Withdrawn." It mentions that "minerals dealer Walter Horst" had been charged with being in possession of a stolen "296 kg" meteorite and separately for trying to export four meteorites. In Namibia, it says, meteorites "are protected by law and may not be moved from where they are found or exported," and reports that "Meteorites from Gibeon [in the south] are being advertised for sale on collectors' websites on the Internet — all illegally, since export is forbidden."
The ESA Rosetta mission has a status report from yesterday, "Second Lander Commissioning Slot" telling of a second pass at commissioning the Rosetta lander that was routine and successful but hints at "a few" glitches.
|Risk monitoring - panel 1/1||Major News for 20 April 2004|
Of five NEOs discovered from Australia since March 29th, four have minimum Earth orbit intersection distances (MOIDs) that would classify them as potentially hazardous, except that two are too small for PHA status, while the other two are both kilometer size, and are both presently listed at right with virtual impactors (VIs). 2004 HW is the newest. It was announced yesterday in MPEC 2004-H32 as discovered Sunday and confirmed Monday UT by the Siding Spring Survey is Australia. Yesterday evening in Pasadena, after midnight UT, this object was posted by JPL.
The Tuesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC has no new observations for 2004 HW, but has all the rest, which presently are listed by only JPL with a very few low-rated impact solutions beyond the NEODyS 2080 time horizon. The other Australian discovery, 2004 GA1, was reported from Hunters Hill Observatory Sunday in southeastern Australia. Hunters Hill also reported 2004 GE2 from that day, as did LONEOS on the 15th in Arizona. And both GE2 and 2004 HM were reported from early yesterday by Pla D'Arguines Observatory
in Spain and Great Shefford Observatory in England. Today JPL very slightly raised its 2004 HM risk ratings and slightly lowered its assessments for the other two.
Update: NEODyS has now posted 2004 HW. And JPL has posted small object 2004 HZ, announced in MPEC 2004-H34, as discovered yesterday morning by LINEAR and confirmed last night by Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca and early today by Desert Moon and Sabino Canyon observatories.
Late news: JPL has posted 2004 HQ1.