Friday24 September 20046:01pm MDT2004-09-25 UTC 0001 last
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The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors

Today's issue status: done

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Cover: This FMO Project discovery from yesterday by online volunteer Mariusz Kuczewski of Poland, temporarily designated SW40GS and now officially 2004 ST26 in MPEC 2004-S55 today, was caught last night by Peter Birtwhistle at Great Shefford Observatory in England, who noted that he picked it up “remarkably close to prediction (only 2' out).” The image here is a stack of sixty 24-second exposures shown at 200%. According to the MPEC, this small asteroid intruded slightly into the Earth-Moon system two days ago. See below for more about that.

Details: 2004 Sep 23 2010-2045 UT. 60x24s exposures, stacked for motion of 7.5"/min in p.a. 51°. Gibbous moon 50° away. Binned 2x2 and enlarged by x2. Field 10'x10', north up. 0.30m f/6.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD. P. Birtwhistle (J95)
News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 24 Sept. 2004 previous
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News briefs

Moon buzzer:  Multiple sources put 2004 ST26's Earth passage at about 2330 UT September 21st, and Sormano Observatory and Pasquale Tricarico put the distance at 0.956 lunar distance. FMO Project volunteer Mariusz Kuczewski of Poland, who was reviewing images online the next morning from the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona, found 2004 ST26 in frames from 0650 and 0728 UT. The discovery was confirmed overnight from six other observing facilities (see Peter Birtwhistle's confirmation imagery above), and was announced in MPEC 2004-S55. It is roughly estimated to be just under 20 meters/yards wide.

Pasquale Tricarico animation of 
2004 ST26 lunar flyby on 22 Sept. 2004
Excerpt of Pasquale Tricarico's animation of 2004 ST26 buzzing the Moon, seen from the asteroid, just after midnight on September 22nd. Done with ORSA, the full animation is available as a 994Kb GIF.

2004 ST26 appears to have come slightly closer than 2004 RU109, which on only September 13th had made what was then the sixth closest flyby this year. Even more interesting, Pasquale Tricarico reports it came to 0.076 lunar distance from the Moon at 0002 UT on the 22nd — the closest this year.

Bits & pieces:  The Southwest Research Institute has a news release dated September 22nd about how its NASA Ion and Electron Spectrometer (IES) aboard the ESA Rosetta comet orbiter “successfully underwent an intensive commissioning exercise that qualified it for operation during the next decade.”

Astronomy.com has an article from September 20th about Don Machholz and his discovery of C/2004 Q2 (Machholz).

An article at the British Columbia Vancouver Sun yesterday tells about the 55th annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held there on 4-8 October. The public program includes IMAX movies and a Rosetta presentation on “Landing on a Comet.” The article notes that “Canada is the largest export nation of any spacefaring nation in terms of its space industry.”

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 24 Sept. 2004 previous
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Risk monitoring 24 Sept.

There is nothing to report in risk monitoring news today.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2359 UTC, 24 Sep

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 RU109 NEODyS 9/142038-20536-6.72-7.1301.627
JPL 9/142038-20535-6.81-7.2101.627
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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