Monday4 October 20043:08pm MDT2004-10-04 UTC 2108 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: John Broughton at Reedy Creek Observatory in southeastern Queensland, Australia, writes:4179 Toutatis was imaged at 30-second intervals on September 27 when it was 400 trillion times closer than 11th magnitude spiral galaxy NGC 6902 seen in the background. On the following night Toutatis, moving fast enough to have visible motion, had reached its peak brightness around magnitude 8. This was the third potentially hazardous asteroid I had seen visually and the only one bright enough to reveal itself in color, which could best be described as that of straw.”

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 4 Oct. 2004 previous
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News briefs

New Horizons news:  A report at Space.com today tells that the current plan is to proceed with launching the New Horizons spacecraft on schedule with 80% or more of the onboard power capability originally planned, which is enough accomplish mission goals at Pluto but may not be enough to follow on with studying one or more Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects. A possible solution to this shortfall would be a second mission using the same design and run by the same team, saving much of the mission development cost but still requiring an expensive launch. There is already a New Horizons II proposal (see news Index) to fly by Uranus and into the EK Belt, and some funding may be on the way for a feasibility study.

Articles today at the Kansas Wichita Eagle and The Star of Malaysia tell about Pluto discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh.

Meteor news:  The Singapore New Paper has a profile of meteorite hunter Cornelis Baaijens of the Netherlands who tells that “on an average, he makes one find every two trips” into the Arabian desert, and who says camel dung can be mistaken for meteorites. And, speaking of meteor-wrongs, the Slovak Spectator has a letter from Ken Newton who indicates that the cafe meteorite told about September 27th has not been properly identified and classified.

U.K. NEO work:  Wales icNetwork has an article today, “Youth get licence to probe deep space,” saying that the Minor Planet Center has given approval for school children in Wales and Britain, remotely operating the 2.2m Faulkes Telescope North on Maui, to report asteroid observations. Part two of the piece states that last week's 4179 Toutatis flyby “at a distance of four times that between us and the moon, is the closest known approach of any comet or asteroid between now and 2060.” JPL shows today that 19 known asteroids will come closer in that period, some to less than a lunar distance. More egregious is a quote [from here] that the Faulkes news means “Britain could now for the first time make a significant contribution to the global asteroid tracking network.” This overlooks tireless effort and enormous success at Great Shefford Observatory and occasional but crucial observations made until recently from U.K. telescopes on La Palma.

Bits & pieces:  The U.S. Geological Survey has a September 30th news release about seismic testing taking place this week in Virginia around the Chesapeake Bay impact structure (Index) as part of determining the best place to drill deeply into the central part of the crater next year.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has an article from yesterday about fighting light pollution on the island of Maui, noting that it threatens “a $140M industry” brought by astronomy.

Risk monitoring - panel 1/1 Major News for 4 Oct. 2004 previous
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Risk monitoring yesterday 4 Oct. tomorrow

The Monday Daily Orbit Update has observation of 2004 RQ252 from yesterday from Reedy Creek Observatory in Queensland, and today NEODyS reposted this object again, now with a single low-rated impact solution in the year 2064. It does occasionally occur that an object makes a return to one or both risk monitors' lists, and both have twice previously removed all impact solutions for this small object. See yesterday's small objects report for more info.

Summary Risk Table - sources checked at 2048 UTC, 4 Oct

Object

Assessment

Years

VI
PS
cum
PS
max
T
S
Arc 
days
 2004 RQ252 NEODyS 10/42064-20641-6.40-6.40017.911
JPL 10/3R E M O V E D
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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