Wednesday12 May 20046:59pm MDT2004-05-13 UTC 0059 back top next  

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


Today's issue status: done
yesterdayMaytomorrowIndex
  • All-sky news – high catch & Sierra fireball
  • News briefs – occultation & crater news
    + NEAs galore
    panel 2 – readings & Spitzer archive
  • Risk monitoring – JPL has posted 2004 JQ1
    – NEODyS has posted & JPL has pulled 2004 JR

Cover: Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) in a composite of four 20-second exposures at twighlight May 9th from SuperWASP on La Palma in the Canary Islands, ©Copyright 2004 WASP Consortium. It noted that "The dust tail extends 3 degrees from the coma [and] the ion tail has a length of 10 degrees" (well beyond this cropped frame). "The star cluster below the ion tail is Messier 48." See A/CC's report about SuperWASP's inauguration last month. North is up and east is left.

All-sky news – panel 1/1 Major News for 12 May 2004 back top next  
All-sky news
composite flight image 
6 May 2004 5:15am meteor camera viewpoints, 
map not to scale 6 May 2004 5:15am meteor 
from Sandia Lab All-Sky Camera

Cropped movie frames, courtesy of Sandia National Lab, have been reoriented in these A/CC renditions as if looking up at the sky north of Albuquerque at 5:15am May 6th.

High catch:  The A/CC news "cover" Saturday showed a meteor caught at dawn by the all-sky camera at Sandia National Lab on the south side of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That was the third meteor recorded in a 52-minute period, and Chris Peterson tells A/CC that Sandia's second meteor that morning, at 5:15am (see images above), was caught also by his Cloudbait Observatory all-sky camera near Guffey in central Colorado, and by another camera in the Denver Museum network at Alamosa. He says "this meteor exploded about 20 miles NE of Farmington, NM, right on the NM/CO border, at a rather high height of around

51 miles [82 km.]. It started about 40 miles east of Farmington and had a ground path of about 35 miles. The trajectory was pretty flat."

New movie:  Sandia National Lab has posted a Quicktime movie from 11:12pm Monday showing a bright meteor traveling along the southwestern horizon (631Kb, temporary link).

Sierra fireball:  Jim Gamble tells A/CC that there is a new Sandia meteor network station near Nevada City in northern California. It belongs to Wayne Watson, who has posted his first result, a fireball at 4:12am lasting more than six seconds on May 5th, verified by Sandia. He asks that anyone who witnessed this event to please contact him.

Some all-sky cameras are "direct view" with a fisheye lens looking skyward, so frames with north up have east left. Other cameras use a normal lens to look down on a hemispherical mirror (see Sandia and Cloudbait rigs), so west is left.

News briefs – panel 1/2 Major News for 12 May 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Occultation news:  The French Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemerides Calculation (IMCCE) has posted a wonderful page about upcoming stellar occultations May 14th and June 5th by Main Belt asteroid 22 Kalliope and its satellite 22 (1) Linus. Linus's orbit is now understood well enough to predict its own separate occultation path (a stellar shadow travelling across Earth's surface). The institute page states that “it is necessary that a great number of observers [be] mobilized to cover the geographical areas of visibility” to get direct observation of the two objects' dimensions, and to improve modeling of the Kalliope system. And this will help to more precisely calculate mass and density, which are qualities known for very few asteroids. See also the European Asteroidal Occultation Network (EAON) Special Kalliope page.

There was news yesterday about using occultations to discover unknown companions of Main Belt asteroids.

Crater news:  NASA headquarters has issued a media advisory today that, at a news teleconference at 2pm EDT (1800 UTC) tomorrow, researchers will announce the location of a crater that “is believed to be associated with the largest extinction event in Earth's history about 250 million years ago,” the “Great Dying.”

NEAs galore:  The bright-Moon drought of NEA discoveries is over. Only three near-Earth asteroids had been announced by the Minor Planet Center since May 2nd, but five have been announced so far today. All were discovered yesterday morning by LINEAR in New Mexico. One may be kilometer-size but doesn't come close. Three can come close enough to be considered potentially hazardous, except two are too small for that sanction. They are 2004 JP1 (MPEC 2004-J50), which will come within about three lunar distances (LD) of Earth on May 18th, and 2004 JN1 (2004-J48), which was around 18.4 LD during the full Moon but is now moving away. Update: The larger of the three, 2004 JQ1, has been posted by JPL (see below).

more news briefs >>

News briefs – panel 2/2 Major News for 12 May 2004 back top next  

<< continued from panel 1

Readings:  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an article today, "Comet man," about Gary Kronk of comet and meteor fame and author of Cometography, an exhaustive history of comet observation (with volumes two volumes out and two to come).

Astrobiology Magazine today has an "Interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno," a Vatican astronomer (staff page) and "curator of one of the world's largest meteorite collections" (catalog). Mostly a pleasant philosophical discussion, it notes that he is working on "whether or not life could be transported in the pore spaces of meteorites," and there is this:

[We] came up with the first really good set of meteorite densities about the time we were getting asteroid densities, and we see that they don't match at all. The asteroids are a good 20 percent less dense than the meteorites, which has fit in with new ideas that the asteroids are not big lumps of rock, they're piles of rubble, or at the very least, very fractured rocks. 

The Age has an article today, "The hunt to high heaven," about comet hunter William Bradfield.

Spitzer archive:  A Spitzer Space Telescope news release dated yesterday, "Spitzer Shares the Wealth," says that, "Like a philanthropist donating a prized collection to a museum, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has opened a virtual vault rich with scientific data," announcing the opening of Spitzer Data Archive

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 12 May 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring 12 May

The Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC has additional observations of 2004 JR from discoverer LINEAR in New Mexico from yesterday, within the discovery MPEC's observing arc. Today JPL removed its single 2012 impact solution for this object, while NEODyS posted it with 43 solutions from 2012 to 2078, all low rated. The Minor Planet Center Last Observation page shows that 2004 JR was also observed yesterday by Tenagra II Observatory in Arizona


Update:  JPL has posted 2004 JQ1, which was announced today in MPEC 2004-J51 as discovered yesterday morning by LINEAR in New Mexico. It was confirmed last night by KLENOT in the Czech Republic and this morning by Table Mountain Observatory in southern California and Sabino Canyon and Tenagra II observatories in Arizona. JPL puts its diameter at around 405 meters/yards.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0010 UTC, 13 May

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 JRJPL 5/12R E M O V E D
 NEODyS 5/122012-207843-4.64-5.3302.114
 2004 JQ1JPL 5/132012-209829-4.54-4.9401.079
 2004 HZ NEODyS 5/22023-20454-2.39-2.39011.973
JPL 5/22023-20333-2.44-2.44011.973
 2004 HQ1 NEODyS 5/112079-20791-6.85-6.85019.218
JPL 5/3R E M O V E D
 2004 HMJPL 5/102104-21041-6.38-6.38022.967
 2004 GE2JPL 4/242100-21001-6.02-6.02011.811
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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