2005 FN: Practice at tracking incoming objects

Page contents:

Confirmation by the Mt. Lemmon Survey

Here you see 2005 FN caught during the discovery confirmation process by Ed Beshore early on March 18th UT at the Mt. Lemmon Survey 1.5m telescope, which is just north of Tucson, Arizona and is part of the nearby Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). He writes: "Both the Mt. Lemmon Survey and Catalina Sky Survey telescopes were able to report multiple observations of this object, despite intermittent clouds. Images attached were over about 15 minutes, with 10 second exposures." Shown half-size; click on the image to see it full size.
2005 FN caught by the Mt. Lemmon Survey 
during the discovery confirmation process. 
Click to see image full size.

Discovery Time Line for 2005 FN = AT72198 – day & time UTC
17 1034:04 – LINEAR in New Mexico makes the discovery (March 17.44032), 3:34am MST 
17 1135:23 – last of 5 detections spanning just over an hour; now 4:35am MST at
             the telescope, 6:35am at Lincoln Lab & the MPC, both in Massachusetts
17 2122    – AT72198 posted to the MPC NEOCP (Mar. 17.89)
17 2318:53 – Reiner Stoss sends a message to the MPML noting AT72198's importance
18 0044:34 – Tim Spahr at MPC confirms to the MPML that this object will be
             interesting, and reports "Impact is ruled out"
18 0442    – A/CC posts its first report, following delayed receipt of a "heads-up"
18 0541:05 – Mt. Lemmon Survey (MLS, part of CSS) in Arizona picks up AT72198 at
             10:41pm MST, 4 positions are reported over 13 mins., until 0554:33
18 0555:46 – Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona begins 2.28-hour run (see 0812:36)
18 0630:25 – MLS begins 4.37-hour run with some interruptions, see 1052:28
18 0707:34 – Sandlot Observatory in Kansas reports the first of 3 positions (a
             "triple"), with the last position at 0711:48
18 0737:53 – Jeffrey Sue/H06* starts triplet, last at 0744:08
18 0754:01 – McCarthy Observatory in Connecticut begins triple, last at 0817:01
18 0805:08 – Andrew Lowe/H06* begins a 29-minute run, reporting 10 positions (animation)
18 0812:36 – CSS run ends with 88 positions reported, about 1 every 1.6 mins.
18 0818:45 – Sandlot starts another triple, last at 0833:05
18 0900:38 – Sandlot starts one more triple, last at 0915:02
18 1052:28 – MLS run ends at 3:52am MST with 60 positions gathered
18 1129:41 – J. Sue/H06* starts second triplet, last at 1136:33 (4:36am MST) (animation)
18 1152    – MPEC 2005-F24 issued announcing the discovery of 2005 FN
18 2143    – 2005 FN passes Earth at about 0.35 lunar distance at 2:43pm MST

*H06 = New Mexico Skies, here Rent-A-Scope users, with Jeffrey Sue's observations
 reported in the Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC of March 19th, and Andrew Lowe's
 published in the DOU of the 20th.

Penumbral passages?
In A/CC's news coverage late on March 17th (early on the 18th UTC), Pasquale Tricarico requested astrometry on an urgent basis in case it could be used to test making a real-time prediction of an eclipse of the target as it passed into and out of the Earth's and/or the Moon's shadows. "A direct observation of a total asteroid eclipse and/or the magnitude measurements during the penumba cone crossing period could be used to drastically improve the object's orbit," a concept about which he has a paper "in the works."
      Today he reports receiving lots of astrometry but, as it turned out, "the path of the asteroid into the Earth-Moon system excludes any possibility of the asteroid being eclipsed by Earth or Moon." This is demonstrated by his illustrations at right.
      He gives these encounter statistics: "Minimum distance from Earth 0.000963 AU = 0.375 LD at 2005 Mar 18.9052, and minimum distance from the Moon 0.00321 AU = 1.25 LD at 2005 Mar 18.9305."
      The calculations and illustrations come from a developmental version of his ORSA software. See the old A/CC news Index for more examples of ORSA's and his work.

Pasquale Tricarico ORSA illustration showing 
2005 FN passing through Earth-Moon system.
Looking down on the Earth-Moon system, with the Sun to the right, gray shadow cones extending away from Moon and Earth, and 2005 FN moving from left to right.
Pasquale Tricarico ORSA illustration showing 
2005 FN passing through Earth-Moon system.
Looking at the Earth-Moon system from the direction of the Sun, with 2005 FN moving from lower left to upper right.

News links

Page history
25 March:
Link to Jeffrey Sue's 2005 FN animation added in Time Line section.
23 March: Link to further news added to News links section.
21 March: Link to Andrew Lowe's 2005 FN animation added in Time Line section.
20 March: Time Line corrected to show that Reiner Stoss sent his message an hour earlier (00:18 local).
19 March: Updated twice, first with a correction and an addition to the Penumbral passages? section, and then with additions to the Time Line section.
18 March: This page first posted late in the day (0530 UTC on the 19th).

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