Wednesday21 April 20045:30pm MDT2004-04-21 UTC 2330 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done
  • News briefs – SOFIA news, meteor news,
    new comet & naming
  • Risk monitoring – JPL has posted 2004 HD2 & NEODyS has posted 2004 HZ
    panel 2 – NEODyS has posted 2004 HQ1

Cover: Confirmation imagery of 2004 HZ from Reiner Stoss, working with Salvador Sanchez and Jaime Nomen on a remote-controlled 0.3m telescope at Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM) Monday night. Eighteen 40-second exposures are stacked on the fast motion of the small object, a faint dot near center. He notes that "the bright glow from NW is from Jupiter, which was just 7° away in P.A. 300°." Stars appear as bright streaks or dimmer bead strings. A non-parallel streak at upper right is a satellite passing through one frame. See below about 2004 HZ risk monitoring.

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 21 April 2004 back top next  
News briefs

SOFIA news:  Evergreen International Aviation has a news release from yesterday that its Evergreen International Airlines division has been awarded the contract "to maintain and operate NASAís Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft." The NASA/DLR SOFIA mission, a much modified Boeing 747 with a 2.5m telescope, is the replacement for the retired Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO) which, among many accomplishments, discovered the atmosphere of Pluto during a 1988 stellar occultation. A 9 October 2002 MIT news release mentioned that SOFIA will have an instrument designed specifically to observe occultations (HIPO). A February 2004 mission newsletter for educators says SOFIA won't take wing this year, contrary to previous expectations.

The first test flights of the aircraft are expected to take place in early 2005. Transfer of the aircraft to NASA-Ames is expected in late 2005 followed by the first science commissioning flights and Operations Readiness Review (ORR) when the observatory transitions from development phase to regular operations. 

Meteor news:  From its print edition, New Scientist has an article today, "'Weird' meteorite may be from Mars moon" (Phobos, "more likely"). The Kaidun meteorite is unlike any other of some 23,000 cataloged. "It is made of many small chunks of material, including minerals never seen before." has an article today, "Meteor Shower Peaks Before Dawn Thursday" (see more links).

Comet news:  MPEC 2004-H42 today announces comet P/2004 H2 (Larsen), discovered by Jeff Larsen at the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona Monday morning and followed up with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope and by six other observatories through this morning. The first preliminary calculation puts perihelion well past the orbit of Mars this next August.

Naming:  The New Mexico Las Cruces Sun has an article from yesterday, "Spaced out: Asteroidís discoverers name it 'Las Cruces,'" about last November's naming of Main Belt asteroid 60186 Las Cruces (1999 VH22), apparently "the first city in New Mexico to be so honored." The article also profiles the discoverers, David Dixon and Janet Stevens.

Risk monitoring - panel 1/2 Major News for 21 April 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 21 April

The Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC (DOU) carries observations of four of the objects with impact solutions that are currently in view. Only the two longest listed of these are on the European Spaceguard Central Node Priority List, and one, 2004 GE2, is noted as going out of view a week from now.

2004 GE2 is reported from yesterday morning in New Mexico from LINEAR and from last night in Italy from Sormano Observatory. Today JPL slightly raised its low risk assessment for this 190-meter object with a single impact solution in 2100, well beyond the NEODyS 2080 time horizon.

JPL has posted 2004 HD2, which was announced today in MPEC 2004-H41 as discovered early yesterday by LINEAR and confirmed last night by Sormano and this morning by Table Mountain Observatory in southern California and Sabino Canyon Observatory in Arizona. JPL puts its diameter at roughly 210 meters/yards.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2358 UTC, 21 Apr




 2004 HZ NEODyS 4/212008-207778-4.49-5.0701.039
JPL 4/212008-2101132-4.69-5.1001.039
 2004 HW NEODyS 4/202009-207719-2.62-2.8801.053
JPL 4/202008-2103271-1.87-2.4501.053
 2004 HQ1 NEODyS 4/212048-20744-5.94-6.1601.039
JPL 4/212058-210334-4.87-5.3101.039
 2004 HMJPL 4/212101-21042-5.23-5.2304.581
 2004 HD2JPL 4/212072-20862-5.74-5.8801.044
 2004 GE2JPL 4/212100-21001-4.93-4.9308.617
 2004 GA1JPL 4/212083-20831-4.63-4.6308.952
NEODyS 4/19R 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.

At a roughly estimated diameter of 130 meters, today's "cover" object, 2004 HZ (see above), is too small to be classified as "potentially hazardous, but, after it was announced yesterday, JPL posted it with 486 impact solutions. To the first 12 positions

more risk monitoring >>

Risk monitoring - panel 2/2 Major News for 21 April 2004 back top next  

<< continued from panel 1

reported in a 1.039-day observing DOU adds 19 more from LINEAR within that arc. Today JPL updated its assessment, cutting the solution count to 132 and lowering its overall risk ratings, and NEODyS has now also posted this object.

Hunters Hill Observatory (Ngunnawal) in Australia observed 2004 GA1 yesterday, and today JPL slightly lowered its low risk assessment for a single remaining solution for this kilometer-size object in 2083.

Sormano Observatory reported positions for 2004 HM from last night, and JPL today slightly raised its low overall risk ratings for this 90-meter object with two impact solutions early in the 22nd Century.

The Minor Planet Center Last Observation page (which doesn't flag asteroids that have JPL-only VIs) is showing that Hunters Hill caught 2004 GA1 again today, the Siding Spring Survey followed up on 2004 HW yesterday, and Sandlot Observatory in Kansas picked up 2004 GE2 and 2004 HM this morning. Of objects

with VIs and currently in view, only 2004 HQ1 is missing from all this observing work.

2035 UTC update:  NEODyS has now also posted 2004 HQ1.   [ top ]
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