Monday7 June 20049:43pm MDT2004-06-08 UTC 0343 back top next  

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

Today's issue status: done
  • News briefs – SOFIA workshop & cover story
    panel 2 – infrasound event + bits & pieces

Cover: A frame at 200% size from Ed Majden's all-sky camera last Thursday morning at Courtenay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The camera points down at a dome mirror, and, in this frame, north is right and east is down. The "Washington fireball" is seen flaring in the distance on his southeastern horizon. This is not the brightest frame, but the best for showing, with a little help from post-processing, how the mirror reflects the sky and surroundings. The Moon is on the horizon just above the south-running "spider bar." See below for more details. A GIF animation is in the works.

News briefs – panel 1/2 Major News for 7 June 2004 back top next  
News briefs

SOFIA workshop:  The NASA/DLR Boeing 747-based Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) begins flying next year with a 2.7m infrared telescope, and it also has an "Upper Deck" where astronomy and Earth science can be performed with small instruments. NASA/Ames is holding a workshop on 22-23 June, with deadlines very soon for registration and abstracts. Peter Jenniskens, who chairs the workshop, tells A/CC that "We are looking for scientists willing to weigh in with opinions about what research would be valuable and important to NASA to which Upper Deck observations might uniquely contribute."

Some examples of potential future upper deck "serendiptious research" include interplanetary dust collection, wide field imaging, "the systematic study of meteoroid composition," and "asteroid, Kuiper Belt comet, or Oort Cloud comet occultations of distant stars" (emphasis added).

Cover story:  At 2:40am PDT Thursday, when a fireball lit up the heavily populated Puget Sound area of Washington State, the only all-sky camera in service in all of northwestern North America was Ed Majden's at Courtenay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. His VHS video was digitized by a TV station into 320x240 MP4 format and was provided to the meteor community, including a copy to the Dutch Meteor Society, which posted it (details), and to A/CC, where, as time permits, an optimized animated GIF is being prepared. One of the more interesting single frames is today's "cover" above, shown at 200% with some minimum post-processing to help convey how the camera is looking down at a dome mirror (the setup can be seen in a photo here).

Rob Matson has been working with Ed Majden on the calibration of the video, and we will have more about that when the animation is ready to post. He tells A/CC that, using the full Moon on the south-southwestern horizon, he calculates an azimuth of 131°, which, "given the resolution of the camera," is in "pretty good

cover story continued & news >>

News briefs – panel 2/2 Major News for 7 June 2004 back top next  

<< cover story continued from panel 1

agreement" with the direction (128.3°) from that location to the geographical point over which University of Washington seismologists detected a single large detonation, roughly 160 miles (260 km.) from Courtenay, as reported Friday. (There were multiple flashes according to witness reports, surveillance cameras, and the all-sky camera.)

Infrasound event:  A/CC has been reliably informed that an infrasound station north of Spokane in eastern Washington state definitely picked up the Thursday morning fireball over Puget Sound, and an array near Fairbanks, Alaska appears to have caught it, too. Infrasound analysis requires sorting out distinct explosions from different sound arrival times for a single explosion, since low frequency sound events can travel through multiple atmospheric channels. The analysis will be helped along if other infrasound stations picked up the fireball, and especially if U.S. military satellite data can be made available. Stay tuned, and also see more about the use of infrasound to study previous events.

Editorial note:  Apologies for the long delay in posting today's edition of A/CC Major News, appearing late enough to be tomorrow already for our European readers. There has been a flood of work associated with the Washington fireball story, which is still developing and remains the biggest news currently in minor object science. The results should show their worth in this and coming editions.

Bits & pieces:  A Rosetta mission status report today for the week of May 28th to June 4th, "Moving towards Cruise Phase," tells that some delayed or repeat instrument tests were finally completed, and that times between communication sessions are now being extended gradually from daily to weekly.

The Adelaide, South Australia Advertiser has an article today about an Internet comet impact hoax.   [ top ]
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