Wednesday9 June 20047:14pm MDT2004-06-10 UTC 0114 back top next  

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


Today's issue status: done
yesterdayJunetomorrowIndex

Cover: Comet C/2003 K4 (LINEAR) imagery by Peter Birtwhistle at Great Shefford Observatory in England early yesterday in a stack of 21 30-second exposures. The larger image was log stretched to show what appears to be a tail disconnection event (in front of a bright star). The inset image was processed to show a "stubby" dust tail at an angle to the larger ion tail, subject of recent discussion on the Comets Mailing List.

Details: 2004 June 08 00:55-01:12 UT. Mag m1~ +10. Dust tail 4' in p.a. 135°, ion tail 18' in p.a. 192°. Comet moving 2"/min in p.a. 290°. 21x30s (10m30s total) unfiltered. Binned 2x2. N up. 0.30m f/6.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD. J95
News briefs – panel 1/2 Major News for 9 June 2004 back top next  
News briefs

Washington fireball:  Steven Arrowsmith at Scripps Institution today posted a report (1.78Mb of technical illustrations) on the June 3rd early morning fireball over western Washington state. It shows infrasound data from University of California at San Diego stations I56US at Newport in northeastern Washington and I57US at Pinon Flat in southern California.

Dr. Michael Headlin, chair of Scripps' Laboratory for Atmospheric Acoustics, tells A/CC that "We see a signal at our array in the Anza-Borrego Desert [Pinon Flat] that could be from the bolide. The azimuth and timing are as they should be from an explosion at this location/time, however this will require more checking."

The Anacortes, Washington American has an article today, "Meteor wakes up Anacortes June 4" [sic], with eyewitness accounts of the fireball.

This continues a news thread that runs from Monday's "Cover story" back to "Washington fireball" on Thursday.

Meteor news:  The Sandia Lab all-sky camera caught a bright meteor Monday night at 10:23pm MDT flying south to north over Albuquerque, New Mexico (490Kb).

Yesterday was the annual peak for "the strongest daylight meteor shower of the year," the Arietids, which began in May and last into July. SpaceWeather.com explains how a few can be seen before sunrise "slow and bright, streaking far across the sky."

Virginia Tech has a news release from yesterday at EurekAlert about laser ablation fluid inclusion analysis that, among other geology tasks, can be used to study Mars meteorites and terrestrial impact sites. When "small droplets of fluid, vapor, or silicate [are] sealed in a rocky envelope" by volcanic action or impact, they become "time capsules" that can be recovered with an unusual instrument that ablates into an inclusion and non-destructively removes "the fluid for direct chemical analysis."

Knight Ridder has a story appearing at many news sites, such as at the Tallahassee Democrat today, that tells how a fragment of Australian zircon is the

meteor & other news continued >>

News briefs – panel 2/2 Major News for 9 June 2004 back top next  

<< meteor news continued from panel 1

oldest known piece of the Earth, dated at 4.404 billion years. And "the oldest thing ever dated in the solar system" is a zircon "found in the remains of a 6-ton meteorite known as Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) in the Atacama Desert of Chile, . . . forged at least 4.6 billion years ago" in the Sun's protoplanetary disk.

New Horizons news:  The New Horizons mission has an item dated yesterday about its Solar Wind Around Pluto instrument (SWAP, illustration) to measure how Pluto, Charon, and "at least one Kuiper Belt object" affect the solar wind, which is tenuous at such distances. It also cites this result:

A flyby observation of comet Borrelly in 2001 recorded a "strong" solar wind interaction with a body that was evolving lots of material into space. In this strong bounding state, the solar wind is reduced to a very low speed near the nucleus of the comet because of strong mass-loading of the wind. Cometary neutrals become ionized (electrically charged) and picked up. The charged cometary material becomes entrained in the flow, resulting in what is commonly seen as a comet's ion tail. 

Bits & pieces:  Roy Spencer has an opinion piece today at Tech Central Station, "'End of the World' Narrowly Averted," telling about the Internet June comet impacts hoax. He also has a debunk page, and see an Adelaide, South Australia Advertiser has a June 7th article about the astronomer whose identity was hijacked to perpetrate the hoax.

Astrobiology Magazine has an article today about how Cassini, when it encounters Saturn's moon Phoebe on the spacecraft's way to enter an orbit around that planet, will be looking to see if the small (about 110 km./68 miles wide) and "very dark" satellite with a retrograde orbit "might be a captured asteroid or Kuiper Belt object." The passage will be at about 2,000 km. (1,240 miles) distance. See also a JPL news release today with approach images and more detail.

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 9 June 2004 back top next  
Risk monitoring June 3rd 9 June tomorrow

For the first time since June 3rd an object under current observation has impact solutions. JPL has posted 2004 LB with a few low-rated solutions after it was announced today in MPEC 2004-L14. JPL puts its size at about 140 meters/yards wide (H=21.9).

2004 LB is the first asteroid discovery to be announced since May 31st. It was found by Brian Skiff Monday morning at LONEOS in Arizona. And, in order of observation times, it was confirmed last night by KLENOT in the Czech Republic, Starkenburg Obseratory in Germany, Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca (OAM), Modra Observatory in Slovakia, and Ondrejov Observatory in the Czech Republic. The confirmation process was closed out from Arizona this morning UT by Three Buttes, Tenagra II, and Sabino Canyon observatories.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0007 UTC, 10 Jun

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 LBJPL 6/92039-20745-5.13-5.5001.961
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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