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The Asteroid/Comet Connection's daily news journal about asteroids, comets & meteors   –   23-30 May 2005

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[ 1 June 2005 news ]


30 May 2005 - Monday  

Namings:  There were 77 new namings in the Minor Planet Center's May 24th updating of the Discovery Circumstances pages, from 4245 Nairc (1981 UC10) to 99905 Jeffgrossman (2002 QX50), which is one short of the current highest-numbered minor planet. Among the new names are these Spacewatch discoveries: 9661 Hohmann (1996 FU13), 15025 Uwontario (1998 TX28), 15058 Billcooke (1998 YL16), and 15068 Wiegert (1999 AJ20). See A/CC's item for more about Walter Hohmann. The University of Western Ontario is well known for its meteor studies, Paul Weigert teaches there, and Bill Cooke is a NASA expert on meteor streams.
      Two objects have had their names changed: 14428 Lazaridis from Laziridis and 43955 Fixlmuller from Fixmuller.
      The previous most recent new namings came on April 8th, and about that news there is an update: Pepe Manteca has created a home page [link fixed] for 95962 Copito. The last time there were new numberings was February 24th (report).

Risk monitoring:  The Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPECs yesterday and today didn't carry new observations of objects with impact solutions, but yesterday's did report corrected times for discovery positions for 2004 MN4 from last June 19th. The original observations of 19-20 June were previously corrected in the DOU of December 24th (news). This was to bring the MPC database into accord with the best data already in the NEODyS and JPL databases from the discovery team.
      Later today, NEODyS and JPL very slightly revised their 2004 MN4 risk assessments.
P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina) from 
Suno Obs. 27 May 2005
Comet P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina) from Suno Obs. in Italy at 2200 UT last Friday night. The image is a stack of ten 60-sec. exposures with north up and field 6'x4.5'.

      Also later today, MPEC 2005-K56 reported observations of P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina) from 22 observatories during 24-30 May. Participating were Wildberg Observatory in Germany on the night of May 24th, CEAMIG-REA in Brazil on the mornings of the 25th and 27th, Ageo Observatory in Japan on the 25th, Farra d'Isonzo Observatory on the night of the 25th, Eschenberg Observatory in Switzerland on the nights of the 25th, 26th, and 28th, GiaGa Observatory in Italy on the night of the 25th, Murcia Observatory in Spain on the nights of the 25th, 27th, and 28th, Toyonaka Observatory in Japan on the 26th, Mataro Observatory in Spain on the nights of 26-27 May, Hradec Kralove Observatory in the Czech Republic late on the 26th and 27th, and the SZTE Asteroid Program in Hungary late on the 26th. On the night of 27th, this comet was reported from San Marcello Pistoiese and Suno observatories in Italy, Starkenburg and Herne observatories in Germany, and Gualba, Begues, and Montcabre observatories in Spain. Saturday night, the 28th, it was observed from Farpoint Observatory in Kansas, Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain, and Klet Observatory in the Czech Republic. And early today it was reported from Fitz-Randolph Observatory in New Jersey.



28 May 2005 - Saturday

Radar news:  Today's Daily Orbit Update carries radar observations of NEA mission target 25143 Itokawa [alt link] last year from Goldstone in southern California on 16 and 20-21 June, and from Arecibo in Puerto Rico on June 19th. Also reported from Arecibo on February 23rd of this year are 2004 RF84 [alt link], 2005 AB, and 2005 CR37.
      2004 RF84 was briefly listed with impact solutions last September. 2005 AB is binary, as Vishnu Reddy told A/CC readers back in February (see his report). And 2005 CR37 was the year's second amateur NEA discovery, as told in February 9th news. For more about the radar observing session for these three near-Earth asteroids, see February 27th radar news.

Risk monitoring:  Today's Daily Orbit Update reports observation of 2004 MN4 from Pla D'Arguines Observatory in Spain last night, and NEODyS has very slightly raised its risk assessment.



27 May 2005 - Friday

Comet news:  The Minor Planet Center this morning issued MPEC 2005-K45, its first for comet C/2005 K2 (LINEAR), with observations from May 20th and very early today, but not including the discovery and a set of confirmation observations. The orbital elements have changed to being more retrograde (i=102.0°), coming to perihelion slightly later (July 5th) closer to the Sun (q=0.54465 AU), and passing further from Earth (>0.6 AU) than previously calculated (see below).
      For more comet news, see the following risk monitoring report.

Risk monitoring:  Still the 26th of May in Pasadena, JPL early today updated its public risk assessment of 2005 JQ5 for the first time as a comet, P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina). Using data published in MPECs 2005-K14 and 2005-K40 of May 17th and 23rd, JPL slightly raised its ratings for a single impact solution in the year 2085.

Update: Today's Daily Orbit Update reports observation of 2004 MN4 from Farpoint Observatory in Kansas early today, adding almost six days to the observing arc, and NEODyS has very slightly lowered its risk assessment.



23 May 2005 - Monday

Comet news:  See Saturday's comet news for a C/2005 K2 (LINEAR) update. The Minor Planet Center issued a set of seven of its occasional comet update MPECs today, Monday, including one for risk-listed P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina) — see the following news item, but C/2005 K2 hasn't yet had an MPEC of its own published.

Update: Reinder Bouma notes that the MPC has posted an ephemeris for this comet. It has orbital elements showing that the comet is preliminarily calculated to be traveling a slightly retrograde path perpendicular to the ecliptic (i=94.4°), coming to perihelion on the 29th of next month at 0.67950 AU, which is closer to the Sun than Venus. By this calculation, C/2005 K2 will be closest to Earth early in the month at less than 0.5 AU, but the observing circumstances will be difficult.

Risk monitoring:  Yesterday's Daily Orbit Update (DOU) MPEC reported observation of 2004 MN4 from the Mt. Lemmon Survey with its 1.5m telescope in Arizona, adding a little over 15 days to the observing arc. NEODyS yesterday, and JPL today, very slightly lowered their risk assessments for this object, which is estimated at roughly a third of a kilometer wide.
      This morning's DOU didn't report any observations of objects with impact solutions, but MPEC 2005-K30 later in the day reported observations of P/2005 JQ5 (Catalina) from no fewer than sixteen observatories from late on May 17th through early on the 21st. In date order, these observing facilities are Linhaceira Observatory in Portugal, Fitz-Randolph Observatory in New Jersey, Table Mountain Observatory in southern California, Petit Jean Mountain South Observatory in Arkansas, Mataro Observatory in Spain, Wildberg Observatory in Germany, Montcabre Observatory in Spain, Guidestar Observatory in Germany, Tortona Observatory (in Italy?), the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, Hradec Kralove and Ondrejov observatories in the Czech Republic, GiaGa Observatory in Italy, CEAMIG-REA in Brazil, NEAT with its Mt. Palomar telescope in southern California, and McCarthy Observatory in Connecticut. At last check, JPL hadn't yet publicly updated its risk assessment with this new data.

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