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The Asteroid/Comet Connection's daily news journal about asteroids, comets & meteors   –   12-21 May 2005

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[ 23 May 2005 news ]


21 May 2005 - Saturday

C/2005 K2 (LINEAR) confirmation imagery from Robt. Hutsebaut
Comet C/2005 K2 (LINEAR) confirmation imagery . The comet (faint, at center) is moving at 3.35"/min. toward PA 17.3° in this image, which is an A/CC composite of three frames from Robert Hutsebaut, each a stack of six 60-sec. images.

Comet news:  Without an MPEC issued yet, all we can tell you about comet C/2005 K2 (LINEAR) is that it was discovered after May 14th by LINEAR in New Mexico, and that Robert Hutsebaut in Belgium confirmed it using Rent-A-Scope at New Mexico Skies (see image at right).

Update: Robert Hutsebaut tells A/CC that this image is centered on "05h37 UT on 20 May with a 0.85% Moon at 105° from the object and 48° above the horizon." He notes that the comet was also confirmed by Jim Young at JPL's Table Mountain Observatory in southern California.

Radar news:  The Daily Orbit Update MPEC of May 19th reported radar observation of 2005 ED318 and 2005 HB4 on May 12th from Arecibo in Puerto Rico. 2005 ED318 is a potentially hazardous object (H=20.7, ~245 meters wide) discovered by LONEOS in Arizona on March 10th (MPEC 2005-G66). According to JPL, it will pass Earth at 6.3 lunar distances (LD) on May 23rd, and 2005 HB4 will fly past at 14.7 LD the next day. HB4 is a small object (H=24.3, ~45 meters wide) discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona on April 30th (MPEC 2005-J01). Goldstone has a planning page with more about 2005 ED318.

Risk monitoring:  There wasn't any risk monitoring news to report after Wednesday (see below) until today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC, which reported observation of 2005 JE46 from the Siding Spring Survey (SSS) in Australia on May 18th and from CEAMIG-REA in Brazil early yesterday. Today both NEODyS and JPL removed their last impact solutions for this object.
      Among other objects currently listed with impact solutions, 2005 JP81 has remained technically in view but hasn't been reported since its discovery was announced on May 13th. And it now looks like the end of the observation arc for 2004 MN4 will be owned for awhile by Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain, which caught it on the night of May 5th. 2004 MN4 may be picked up by large (1m+) telescopes in 2006 and/or 2013, but the next big viewing opportunity will come in 2029 when a very close Earth passage (naked-eye visible) will alter this object's course, which, with its future risk to Earth, is currently very difficult to predict.

Update: On Sunday May 22nd, the day after the above comment about 2004 MN4, the DOU reports that this object was caught (at reported magnitude V=19.0–21.1) early on the 21st UT by the Mt. Lemmon Survey with its 1.5m telescope in Arizona, adding a bit more than 15 days to the observation arc.



18 May 2005 - Wednesday

Comet news:  The big news is yesterday's revelation that an asteroidal object with an impact solution is actually a comet (see next report below), but MPEC 2005-K15 less than two hours later also announced a new comet discovery, that of C/2005 K1 (Skiff), found by Brian Skiff at LONEOS in Arizona, with the earliest observation there shown from the morning of the 16th and confirmation by two other observatories on the 17th. This object is in a highly inclined orbit (i=79.6°) and is preliminarily calculated to come to perihelion this coming November 15th at a distant 4.224 AU.

Risk monitoring:  The highlight of yesterday's risk monitoring news was MPEC 2005-K14, which late on the 17th UT announced that the asteroidal object still listed by JPL with one lingering impact solution had been redesignated comet P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina). This MPEC restated observations that had been reported in the Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPECs of 15 and 16 May and reported new observations from UKAPP in Northern Ireland using the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii yesterday. As of early on May 19th UT, JPL has not yet updated on this new data, and there may be some problems in assessing a comet's risk or presenting that assessment, which involves different brightness and size calculations, a different IAU designation format, and not having regular observation reporting through DOUs. This was how it was briefly two years ago in the only previous instance of a comet with impact solutions — P/2003 KV2 (LINEAR) [alt link]. (A risk-rated comet may pose problems for the semi-automated aspect of A/CC's CRT page, something that will have to be handled manually until fixes can be made.)
      Yesterday's DOU reported positions for 2005 JU108 from UKAPP with the Faulkes North on May 16th, and NEODyS and JPL removed all impact solutions for this object. And yesterday and today's DOUs carried observations of 2005 JE46 from NEAT's Mt. Palomar telescope in southern California and UKAPP with the Faulkes North on the 16th, and from Powell Observatory in Kansas yesterday morning. The net result was slight decrease in risk ratings for this object since the 16th.



16 May 2005 - Monday

Comet news:  MPEC 2005-K01 early today announced the discovery of comet C/2005 J2 (Catalina) by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona, showing the first CSS observations from early on May 12th UT, and confirmation through yesterday from CSS and ten other observing facilities. This is another distant retrograde comet, with 150.8° inclination and perihelion preliminarily calculated at 4.282 AU on March 30th of this year, coming slightly inside the orbit of Jupiter.
      Seventeen hours later, MPEC 2005-K11 today announced P/2005 JN (Spacewatch), reporting observations only from the Catalina Sky Survey and Catalina Station during 12-13 May. It has perihelion predicted at 2.275 AU this coming June 20th, out past the orbit of Mars. The designation for this object is in the style of a minor planet, and the IAU Astronomical Headlines notes that both comets were reported as asteroidal by their discoverers and were "found to be cometary elsewhere."

Risk monitoring:  Yesterday and today's Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPECs reported observation of 2005 JE46 from Marxuquera and Consell observatories in Spain at, and just before, midnight of 14-15 May, and from Powell Observatory in Kansas early today. They also carried observations of 2005 JQ5 from Uccle Observatory in Belgium late on the 13th, LINEAR in New Mexico early the next day, and that night from Suno Observatory in Italy and Mataro and Marxuquera observatories in Spain, plus Petit Jean Mountain South Observatory in Arkansas yesterday morning. NEODyS and JPL updated their risk assessments both days, with the net result that both have slightly lowered their risk ratings for 2005 JE46 and have cut their impact solution counts. And JPL has very slightly raised its assessment for 2005 JQ5, which only it now lists, and with only one solution.
      Two LINEAR asteroid discoveries from early on May 14th were announced yesterday — 2005 JS108 in MPEC 2005-J66 and 2005 JU108 in MPEC 2005-J68, and were posted by JPL yesterday PDT but not noted at A/CC until after midnight UT. The 2005 JS108 discovery was confirmed late on the 14th by Andrushivka Observatory in the Ukraine, Marxuquera Observatory, and Great Shefford Observatory in England, and early yesterday from Table Mountain Observatory in southern California. Today's DOU reports further observation from CEAMIG-REA in Brazil early yesterday and Powell Observatory early today, and JPL has now removed its impact solutions for this object, which it estimated at roughly 673 meters in diameter.
      2005 JU108 is put by JPL on the order of 286 meters wide. Its discovery was confirmed by Marxuquera and Table Mountain observatories on the morning of the 15th. And today NEODyS posted it with a single low-rated impact solution.



14 May 2005 - Saturday

Risk monitoring:  Today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC reports observation of 2005 JQ81 yesterday morning from its discoverer, the Mt. Lemmon Survey (MLS) in Arizona, and today JPL removed this object from its risk listings. Also reported are 2005 JE46 from UKAPP in Northern Ireland yesterday using the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii and 2005 JQ5 from Perth Observatory in Australia on the 7th and McCarthy Observatory yesterday morning in New England. Today NEODyS and JPL slightly lowered their risk assessments for 2005 JE46, and JPL very slightly lowered its risk assessment for 2005 JQ5.



13 May 2005 - Friday

Risk monitoring:  JPL today posted 2005 JP81 and 2005 JQ81 with highly preliminary and low rated impact solutions beginning in late 2008 and 2010. Both objects were discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey (MLS) in Arizona early on May 10th UT. MPEC 2005-J52 early today reported that the discovery of 2005 JP81 was confirmed by MLS and with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope early on the 11th, and MPEC 2005-J53 shows confirmation of the small object 2005 JQ81 early on the 11th and yesterday by MLS alone.
      Today's Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC reports observation of 2005 JE46 with the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii on May 11th by code "3" and on the 12th by UKAPP in Northern Ireland, and by Great Shefford Observatory in England very early today. NEODyS and JPL now have impact solutions no earlier than 2012 (NEODyS increased and JPL cut solution counts), and both have slightly lowered their overall risk ratings for this object, which is estimated at nearly a kilometer in diameter.
      The DOU also reports observation of 2005 JQ5 on both sides of midnight yesterday morning by Uccle Observatory in Belgium followed by Los Molinos Observatory in Uruguay, Petit Jean Mountain South Observatory in Arkansas, and NEAT's Hawaiian telescope. Last night it was observed by CINEOS in Italy. Only JPL still has this object listed and today very slightly lowered its single-solution risk assessment for this object, for which JPL's diameter estimate has shrunk from 910 to 800 meters.



12 May 2005 - Thursday  

Editor's note:  See news yesterday for two updates about comet C/2005 EL173 (LONEOS), with a correction about this object's path and more about discovery circumstances, including an image link.

Risk monitoring:  Today NEODyS posted 2005 JE46 as a risk (see news yesterday. That object isn't in today's Daily Orbit Update MPEC, but 2005 JQ5 was well covered yesterday morning by LONEOS and the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, last night by Eschenberg Observatory in Switzerland and Guidestar and Wildberg observatories in Germany, and this morning by Great Shefford Observatory in England and McCarthy Observatory in New England. Today NEODyS removed its last impact solution for this object, and JPL cut to just two solutions in the year 2085 while slightly raising its risk ratings.

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