Monday23 August 20041:02am MDT 24 August2004-08-24 UTC 0702 last
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The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors

Today's issue status: done


Cover: Small object 2004 NK8 was caught by Pepe Manteca at Begues Observatory in Spain on the evening of July 20th. Estimated at 70-75 meters/yards wide, NK8 went out of view in mid-August with a 27.74-day observing arc. North is up and east is left in this composite image stacked on the motion of the faint object (magnitude 20.2). The parallel streaks are stars, and a satellite sails through the view.

More about 2004 FU162 – panel 1/1 Major News for 23 August 2004 previous
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More about 2004 FU162

By Bill Allen, A/CC editor

Some NEO observers have asked why 2004 FU162 would be announced with only 44 minutes of data from just one observing facility? And why now, almost five months later?

Near-Earth asteroidal objects normally receive a designation from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center (MPC) only after an “observing arc” of 19 to 21 or more hours, and usually with confirmation from additional observatories. The point of this exercise is to publish objects for which the orbit solution is good enough to make recovery possible at another apparition. Sunday's discovery MPEC 2004-Q22 states that 2004 FU162's “orbit is quite determinate and, given the exceptional nature of this close approach, the object is now receiving a designation.” There is a little more to the story than that.

The MPEC credits the orbital calculations to S.R. Chesley at the NASA/JPL NEO Program Office (NEOPO). Asked about observers' questions, he responded by E-mail just as he was about to travel, so his statement wasn't prepared for quotation, and the following is instead a summary.

The Minor Planet Center had the report of an object from LINEAR in New Mexico with only one-night's data, from

0639:31 to 0723:30 UTC on March 31st, and which was now unobservable. They passed the data to JPL to make sure there wasn't a chance of impact. JPL not only thought there was a very slight chance, but that it might actually have hit. You may recall a Queensland, Australia event at about 7pm local time on March 31st (see news Index). It was eventually concluded, however, that this bolide was unrelated.

Checking for more observations, JPL found that only LINEAR had been surveying in the right area, and had nothing more. So the discovery was consigned to the ONS (one-night stand) list and Steve Chesley continued to look at the problem using some new software of his. He put the probability that it had impacted at 0.3%, and the probability that it had come closer to Earth than 2004 FH at 97.5%. (The previous record holder for closest passage observed by telescope, only days earlier, was 2004 FH. See news Index.)

In order to employ this example in a scientific paper and in a presentation at an IAU gathering in Belgrade next week, Steve Chesley sought agreement from LINEAR to use its observations. And he asked the MPC to give the object an IAU designation, since it wouldn't be proper to use the temporary discoverer's designation (AN09463) in the paper. Everyone agreed and the MPEC was issued.

Other 2004 FU162 news >>

More about 2004 FU162 – panel 2/2 Major News for 23 August 2004 previous
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<< More about 2004 FU162

Other 2004 FU162 news:  A/CC broke the 2004 FU162 story at 1:05am EDT Sunday (0505 UTC), and soon followed that with a longer report that was expanded with additions through yesterday evening, including a request for NEO observers to check their archives, and a piece explaining why this is hardly the closest passage ever observed (that was in broad daylight, seen by eye and handheld cameras).

At around 0800 UTC today, New Scientist was the first other news site to pick up the story, followed by about 16 hours later.

The most important new news today was that JPL this morning had posted 2004 FU162 with many low-rated “impact” (atmospheric event) solutions, the first of which comes almost exactly two years after its discovery (details below). Since then A/CC has also published an account of why 2004 FU162 was announced, and why so long after the passage occurred — see above.

2004 FU162 news elsewhere

Earth's immediate neighborhood is a busy place, and these were just the objects that got caught during February-May 2004.
Orbital elements from MPES. Passage times and distances from MPC Closest Approaches. Lunar distance = .00257 AU.

Desig.     Passage Dist AU   H     M         Peri.     Node     i       e         a    Arc days
---------- ------- -------- ---- --------- --------- --------- -------- --------- -------------
2004 CA2   2-01.80 0.00966  23.7  64.84847 130.41074 304.24167  3.25203 0.6140693 2.1093873  10
2004 BK86  2-01.99 0.00445  25.4  64.90708 262.26519 311.30031  2.24656 0.5041661 1.4269372   1
2004 DF2   2-17.04 0.00728  26.1  90.59899  89.51789 325.21853  5.23294 0.6532722 1.6587942   3
2004 DA53  2-24.30 0.00326  28.0 260.53193  50.01322 336.72109  5.11719 0.3290009 0.8847049   2
2004 FY3   3-17.32 0.00531  25.4  55.08399 128.69614 359.80302  5.39971 0.5535308 1.9661365  11
2004 FH    3-18.92 0.00033  25.7  28.11910  21.86624 305.56669  0.02081 0.2889651 0.8175629   3
2004 FY1   3-20.07 0.00802  26.3  27.31918  61.66294 180.24922  8.94201 0.5824983 1.9267704   2
2004 FM32  3-25.79 0.00464  27.1 141.42491 298.29321 184.52415  3.78346 0.1629217 1.0992494  15
2004 FY15  3-27.85 0.00160  26.1  34.04383 207.09775   6.25062  3.50310 0.4786186 1.8538609   1
2004 FU162 3-31.65 0.000086 28.7  33.72709 139.80776 191.24124  4.16120 0.3919592 0.8267527   0
2004 HE    4-18.01 0.00185  26.8  16.21045  79.32343 208.33608  9.48120 0.6083159 1.7744258   1
2004 HT59  4-26.24 0.00700  27.2 354.65240 112.03882 214.73007 11.13220 0.2235167 0.9802561   1
2004 JO20  5-17.53 0.00814  26.2   4.79724  68.07496 234.53081 10.26009 0.4329875 1.4697151   3
2004 JP1   5-18.01 0.00777  22.8 355.79405 253.93577  56.67862 20.92761 0.2191432 1.1342857   7
2004 KF17  5-31.88 0.00466  26.1   6.65989 212.41334  70.05226 13.22926 0.4761611 1.8492138   3
News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 23 August 2004 previous
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News briefs

Meteor news:  The University of Georgia has a news release today, “Well-preserved layer of material ejected from Chesapeake Bay meteor-strike discovered.” It reports finding at about 25 ft. (8m) deep in a Georgia clay mine the first discovery of a deposition layer from the impact, with a layer of shocked quartz and a kind of tektite dated to about 35 million years ago. (See the Index for more Chesapeake impact news.)

The Michigan Cadillac News has an article today, “Could a meteorite or comet cause all the fires of 1871?” The article does make the point that meteorites aren't hot enough to cause fires while it also reports contrary thinking. See “Readings” of March 5th for more about the Chicago and Michigan celestial fire theory, and see a collection of comets caught in the act of disappearing, something that turns out not to be too unusual.

Bits & pieces: has an article today, “Remnants of 1994 Comet Impact Leave Puzzle at Jupiter.” It tells about results from Cassini as it passed by Jupiter in 2000-2001 on the way to Saturn, helping to understand gas-giant planet atmospheres better. (See some images of the impacts from disrupted comet C/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (1993e).)

FMOP discoveries:  The Spacewatch FMO Project has a new discovery posted to the NEOCP. SW40EW was discovered today by online volunteer Richard Broad.

The Minor Planet Center issued MPECs today for two FMOP discoveries that were put on the NEOCP Friday: 2004 QR4 was discovered by Jan Manek (SW40EB, MPEC 2004-Q32) and 2004 QO5 by Sebastian Hoenig (SW40EK, MPEC 2004-Q37).

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Risk monitoring 23 August

Today NEODyS posted 2004 QY2. See yesterday's “Big NEO” yesterday for more about this, the largest object to appear on impact risk pages in the two-plus years that A/CC has been monitoring them. Today the European Spaceguard Central Node Priority List put 2004 QY2 at level 2 “Necessary,” and notes that it will be in view until October 26th.

This morning JPL posted 2004 FU162, the tiny Earth-buzzer announced yesterday with a 44-minute observing arc from early on March 31st. See news coverage yesterday, and we will have much more about this later today (see above).

No observations of objects with impact solutions were reported in the Monday Daily Orbit Update MPEC.

Update:  NEODyS has posted 2004 QZ2.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 0659 UTC, 24 Aug




 2004 QZ2 NEODyS 8/232011-206920-3.65-4.3702.061
JPL 8/222011-210163-3.83-4.6502.061
 2004 QY2 NEODyS 8/232008-207776-1.71-2.6002.042
JPL 8/232007-209981-1.77-2.2202.042
 2004 QA2JPL 8/222037-20633-7.35-7.6800.924
 2004 PU42JPL 8/172071-210318-5.23-5.8503.772
 NEODyS 8/152071-20776-6.23-6.5203.772
 2004 PP97 NEODyS 8/172029-20757-4.04-4.5500.987
JPL 8/172023-210335-3.51-4.1100.987
 2004 FU162JPL 8/232006-2104818-5.39-6.3700.031
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.   [ top ]
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