This 2 Feb. 2006 photo shows the opening in SOFIA's fuselage with the 100-inch infrared telescope. Credit L-3 Communications/USRA.
Contents on 23 June '07
- Minor-Object News -- four items
- Minor-Object Science -- five papers
- IAU Minor Planet Center
- Impact Risk Monitoring -- nothing to report
WELCOME to A/CC's prototype daily news publication designed to be the viewing end of a planned autonomous 24-hour news service. The new tools and this publication format are working well enough now to share with readers. It is expected that this approach will require less time to maintain than our previous news and small asteroid pages, which were retired on May 14th. There's still more development ahead and there probably will be some glitches along the way, but this is what's needed to keep up with the increasing pace of minor-object news. The CRT page will be maintained separately for a little while longer, until all of this is working smoothly. And the CRT and small-asteroid ephemerides will be kept going.
Minor-Object News on 23 June '07
- "Has a Tunguska Crater Been Found?" Sky & Telescope 22 June - Quote: "[Luca] Gasperini's team suspects that Lake Cheko, located some 5 miles north-northwest of the blast's suspected epicenter was gouged out when the impactor struck and later filled with water." - Note: See links to the science paper below. To learn more about the 1908 event, visit the Tunguska Home Page.
- "Brushfire triggers Madera evacuation," Green Valley News & Sun 22 June - Quote: "A spokesman for the Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins said at 12:55 p.m. Friday the Forest Service asked the staff to evacuate the mountaintop observatory... Madera Canyon is immediately north of the observatory, and there was concern that the flames burning upward could wreck or damage the telescopes."
- "Airborne Astronomy in View at NASA's Palmdale Gallery," NASA DFRC 21 June - Quote: "The world's newest flying telescope will be in focus on Saturday, June 30, at NASA's Aerospace Exploration Gallery in the Palmdale Civic Center. Dr. Dana Backman will give presentations regarding NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA... Backman flew on several research flights of SOFIA's predecessor, the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, while a post-doctoral student." - Note: See a photo of SOFIA's telescope bay above.
- Bits & pieces: Sergio Foglia has circulated a message offering UAI Minor Planets Section observing services. Among these is the T3 Project to alert observers to watch for cometary activity from objects classified as asteroidal but having an orbital Tisserand parameter of less than 3 with respect to Jupiter.
Besides detailed special reports of Colorado fireballs that can be spectacular enough to get news media attention, Cloudbait Observatory also posts reports of more routine bright meteors. As of yesterday its news page was highlighting no fewer than five of these caught by the Cloudbait and Montrose all-sky cameras from last Sunday morning through this last week. Bright meteors caught by the Colorado all-sky network for the previous week or other period can be looked up from Cloudbait's Meteor Data Request page.
To learn about some objects that would have provided truly spectacular atmospheric events but missed, see Great Shefford Observatory's recently updated Closest Observed Approaches to the Earth by Minor Planets page. These are the closest observed by telescope, of course, as perhaps the very closest was the Great Daylight Fireball of 1972, which was observed by eye when a meteoroid missed the Earth's surface by less than 100 km. See links to more info about that.
Minor-Object Science on 23 June '07
- "A possible impact crater for the 1908 Tunguska Event" by Gasperini, L. with F. Alvisi, G. Biasini & 5 others, HTML & PDF from Terra Nova 15 June - Quote: "The 'Tunguska Event' may be related to the impact with the Earth of a cosmic body that exploded about 5-10 km above ground... Fragments of the impacting body have never been found, and its nature (comet or asteroid) is still a matter of debate. We report results from the investigation of Lake Cheko, located ~8 km NNW of the inferred explosion epicenter... Lake Cheko may have formed due to a secondary impact onto alluvial swampy ground."
- "The Mass of Dwarf Planet Eris" by Brown, Michael E. & Emily L. Schaller, HTML from Science 15 June - Quote: "The discovery of dwarf planet Eris was followed shortly by the discovery of its satellite, Dysnomia, but the satellite orbit, and thus the system mass, was not known. New observations with the Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescopes show that [Dysnomia's] orbital parameters agree with expectations for a satellite formed out of the orbiting debris left from a giant impact. The mass of Eris from these orbital parameters is ... 1.27 +/- 0.02 that of Pluto."
- "Methane and ethane on the bright Kuiper belt object 2005 FY9" by Brown, M.E. with K.M. Barkume, G.A. Blake & 4 others, PDF from M.E. Brown 2007 - Quote: "The spectrum of the bright Kuiper Belt object 2005 FY9 from 0.34 to 2.5 um is dominated by the red coloring of many outer solar system objects in the opticalwavelength regime and by absorption due tomethane in the near-infrared. The solid methane absorption lines are significantly broader on 2005 FY9 than on any other solar system body, indicating long optical path lengths through the methane. These long path lengths can be parameterized as amethane grain size of approximately 1 cm in a Hapke reflectance model. In addition to large-grained methane, the infrared spectrum also indicates the clear presence of ethane, an expected product of UV photolysis of methane. No evidence for N2 or CO, both known to be present on Pluto, is found.We suggest that the large differences between the spectrum of 2005 FY9 and that of Pluto and 2003 UB313 is due to a depletion of nitrogen on the surface of 2005 FY9 that leads to large methane grains, abundant sites for ethane formation through UV photolysis, and highly irradiated tholin-like material."
- "The surface of 2003 EL61 in the near infrared" by Trujillo, Chadwick A. with Michael .E. Brown, Kristina M. Barkume & 2 others, PDF from M.E. Brown 2007 - Quote: "We report the detection of crystalline water ice on the surface of 2003 EL61. Reflectance spectra were collected from the Gemini North telescope in the 1.0 to 2.4 um wavelength range and from the Keck telescope across the 1.4-2.4 um wavelength range. The signature of crystalline water ice is obvious in all data collected. Like the surfaces of many outer solar system bodies, the surface of 2003 EL61 is rich in crystalline water ice, which is energetically less favored than amorphous water ice at low temperatures, suggesting that resurfacing processes may be taking place. The near-infrared color of the object is much bluer than a pure water ice model. Adding a near-infrared blue component such as hydrogen cyanide or phyllosilicate clays improves the fit considerably, with hydrogen cyanide providing the greatest improvement. The addition of hydrated tholins and bitumens also improves the fit, but is inconsistent with the neutral V-J reflectance of 2003 EL61. A small decrease in reflectance beyond 2.3 um may be attributable to cyanide salts. Overall, the reflected light from 2003 EL61 is best fit by a model of 2/3 - 4/5 pure crystalline water ice and 1/3 - 1/5 near-infrared blue component such as hydrogen cyanide or kaolinite. The surface of 2003 EL61 is unlikely to be covered by significant amounts of dark material such as carbon black, as our pure ice models reproduce published albedo estimates derived from the spin state of 2003 EL61."
- "Volatile loss and retention on Kuiper belt objects" by Schaller, E.L. & M.E. Brown, PDF from M.E. Brown 2007 - Quote: "Recent discoveries have shown that the very largest Kuiper Belt objects -- Eris, 2005 FY9, and Sedna -- are coated in methane and may contain other volatile ices as well. New detailed observations show that even within this class of volatile-rich bodies, unexpected differences exist in their surface compositions. 2005 FY9, a body approximately 60% the size of Pluto, with a reflectance spectrum similarly dominated by methane, has a surface depleted in molecular nitrogen by at least an order of magnitude with respect to Pluto. We find that the existence of this new class of volatile-rich objects, the lack of volatiles on most Kuiper Belt objects, and even the otherwise peculiar surface of 2005 FY9 can be explained as a consequence of atmospheric escape of volatile compounds. While previous studies of the surface compositions of objects in the Kuiper Belt have found no explainable patterns, atmospheric escape appears to provide a first-order explanation of the range of surface spectra seen on bodies in the outer solar system."
NEOCP Activity on 23 June '07
The MPC's NEO Confirmation Page has 9 listings: 2 new, 7 updated
When last checked at 1726 UTC today, the Minor Planet Center's NEO discovery Confirmation Page (NEOCP) had two new and seven updated listings. Of these, two were "one nighters." Major News counted a total of seventeen objects listed on the NEOCP at some point on this day.
New MPECs on 23 June '07
Minor Planet Electronic Circulars
There were six MPECs issued this day from the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- MPEC 2007-M29 time-stamped "06:07 UT" - Daily Orbit Update - see below
- MPEC 2007-M30 time-stamped "14:41 UT" - Comet C/2007 M2 (Catalina) - see below
- MPEC 2007-M31 time-stamped "14:46 UT" - Comet C/2007 M3 (LINEAR) - see below
- MPEC 2007-M32 time-stamped "16:10 UT" - 2007 MK6 - see below
- MPEC 2007-M33 time-stamped "16:12 UT" - 2007 ML6 - see below
- MPEC 2007-M34 time-stamped "18:20 UT" - Comet C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy)
MPEC 2007-M34 - "18:20 UT" - Comet C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy)
- CK07K050 C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) (i=64.9°, Q=96.813 AU, TP=2007 May 1.951 TT) from Kambah Obs. (June 22.37-38p2 & 23.35p3)
MPEC 2007-M33 - "16:12 UT" - 2007 ML6
- K07M06L 2007 ML6 (H=18.5 ~676m) was discovered at 0902 UT 21 June by LINEAR, which observed it at June 21.38-41p4. The discovery was confirmed by Vallemare di Borbona Obs. (June 22.04-06p3), Grasslands Obs. (June 22.30-31p3), Cordell-Lorenz Obs. (June 22.32-37p3 & 23.34-37p3), Sandlot Obs. (June 22.35-36p3), and Jim Young via Table Mtn. Obs. (June 22.37-39p5 & 23.36-38p4).
MPEC 2007-M32 - "16:10 UT" - 2007 MK6
- K07M06K 2007 MK6 (q=0.193 AU, H=19.8 ~371m) was discovered at 0440 UT 21 June by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), which observed it at June 21.19-30p14, 22.19p4, and 23.19p3. The discovery was confirmed by Vallemare di Borbona Obs. (June 21.85-86p4), Powell Obs. (June 22.15p3), Grasslands Obs. (June 22.20p3), and Young/Table Mtn. (June 22.24-26p4 & 23.28-29p4).
MPEC 2007-M31 - "14:46 UT" - Comet C/2007 M3 (LINEAR)
- CK07M030 C/2007 M3 (i=161.7°, q=3.419 AU, TP=2007 Sept. 23.886 TT) from LINEAR (June 21.31-35p5), San Marcello Pistoiese Obs. (June 21.86-87p3), Wildberg Obs. (June 21.88-89p6), Guidestar Obs. (June 21.92-94p4), Remanzacco Obs. (June 21.94-00p6), Vallemare di Borbona Obs. (June 21.00-01p3), Powell Obs. (June 22.19-21p3), Cordell-Lorenz Obs. (June 22.24-27p5 & 23.24-31p4), Grasslands Obs. (June 22.26-27p3 & 23.31p3), RAS Obs. Mayhill (June 22.27-28p2), Sandlot Obs. (June 22.30-31p4), Table Mtn. Obs. (June 22.31-35p8 & 23.32-34p4), La Canada Obs. (June 22.93-94p3), Mataro Obs. (June 22.00-01p3), Fenwick Obs. (June 23.15-17p3), McCarthy Obs. (June 23.15-17p3), and El Leoncito Obs. (June 23.21-24p5)
MPEC 2007-M30 - "14:41 UT" - Comet C/2007 M2 (Catalina)
- CK07M020 C/2007 M2 (i=80.5°, q=3.035 AU, TP=2008 Nov. 28.605 TT) from CSS (June 20.19-21p4 & 20.26-28p4), Astronomical Research Obs. (ARO) (June 21.13-15p3), the Mt. Lemmon Survey (MLS) (June 21.18-19p4, 21.26-28p4 & 22.20-22p4), Table Mtn. Obs. (June 21.19-21p4), and Cordell-Lorenz Obs. (June 22.14-19p3 & 23.19-21p2)
- K07M04C 2007 MC4 (arc=3 days, H=21.1 ~204m) from Powell Obs. (June 22.22p4)
- K07M00G 2007 MG (arc=5 days, H=21.0 ~214m) from the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope (June 22.25-26p3)
- K07L19U 2007 LU19 (arc=7 days, H=21.5 ~170m) from Powell Obs. (June 22.13-14p3)
- K07L15B 2007 LB15 (arc=9 days, H=19.4 ~446m) from Powell Obs. (June 22.23-24p3) and Spacewatch 1.8m (June 22.37p2)
- K07L00S 2007 LS (Q=4.540 AU, arc=14 days, H=17.8 ~933m) from Spacewatch 1.8m (June 22.27p2)
- K07F42V 2007 FV42 (arc=93 days, H=17.8 ~933m) from Greiner Research Obs. (May 11.33-34p10) and Leura Obs. (June 21.51p3)
- K07C19A 2007 CA19 (Q=5.089 AU, arc=66 days, H=17.6 ~1.02 km) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 22.92-03p8)
- K07B50B 2007 BB50 (Q=4.885 AU, arc=85 days, H=18.5 ~676m) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.96-98p2 & 22.96-03p7)
- K06V13D 2006 VD13 (arc=2 opp, H=19.0 ~537m) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 18.84-86p2)
- K06G00B 2006 GB (arc=2 opp, H=20.3 ~295m) from CSS (June 22.30-32p4)
- K05C25W 2005 CW25 (arc=3 opp, H=18.6 ~645m) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 22.96-02p7)
- K02T60D 2002 TD60 (arc=2 opp, H=19.3 ~467m) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.93-95p2)
- F4453 154453 2003 CJ11 from Greiner Research Obs. (May 12.15-20p3)
- F2895 152895 2000 CQ101 from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.96-97p2 & 22.96-03p7)
- F2558 152558 1990 SA from MLS (June 22.25-26p4)
- 89355 89355 2001 VS78 from LINEAR (June 22.38-41p4)
- 53435 53435 1999 VM40 from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.95-98p2, 22.89-95p5 & 22.00-03p3)
- 52750 52750 1998 KK17 from the Spacewatch 0.9m telescope (June 22.36-39p3)
- 40267 40267 1999 GJ4 from CSS (June 22.16-18p4)
- 31221 31221 1998 BP26 from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 17.05p1, 20.02p1, 22.91-93p2 & 22.98-04p4)
- 09202 9202 1993 PB from MLS (June 22.41-45p5)
- 04544 4544 Xanthus (1989 FB) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.97-98p2 & 22.98-03p6)
- 04055 4055 Magellan (1985 DO2) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 22.97-04p7)
- 03199 3199 Nefertiti (1982 RA) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 16.00-02p2 & 20.90p1)
- 03103 3103 Eger (1982 BB) from New Millennium Obs. (Feb. 20.93-95p2, 22.90-92p3 & 22.97-04p4)
Observers on 23 June '07
A total of 26 observing facilities appeared in this day's MPECs.
|H55||Astronomical Research Obs. in Illinois, 1 in MPEC 2007-M30 -- C/2007 M2|
|703||Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, 4 in MPECs 2007-M29, 2007-M30 & 2007-M32 -- 2007 MK6, C/2007 M2, 2006 GB, 40267|
|850||Cordell-Lorenz Obs. in Tennessee, 3 in MPECs 2007-M30, 2007-M31 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, C/2007 M3, C/2007 M2|
|808||El Leoncito Obs. in Argentina, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|H87||Fenwick Obs., 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|651||Grasslands Obs. in Arizona, 3 in MPECs 2007-M31, 2007-M32 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, 2007 MK6, C/2007 M3|
|H51||Greiner Research Obs. in Wisconsin, 2 in MPEC 2007-M29 -- 2007 FV42, 154453|
|A17||Guidestar Obs. in Germany, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|415||Kambah Obs. in Australia, 1 in MPEC 2007-M34 -- C/2007 K5|
|704||LINEAR in New Mexico, 3 in MPECs 2007-M29, 2007-M31 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, C/2007 M3, 89355|
|J87||La Canada Obs. in Spain, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|E17||Leura Obs. in New South Wales, 1 in MPEC 2007-M29 -- 2007 FV42|
|A06||Mataro Obs. in Spain, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|932||McCarthy Obs. in Connecticut, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|G96||Mt. Lemmon Survey in Arizona, 3 in MPECs 2007-M29 & 2007-M30 -- C/2007 M2, 152558, 9202|
|A24||New Millennium Obs. in Italy, 12 in MPEC 2007-M29 -- 2007 CA19, 2007 BB50, 2006 VD13, 2005 CW25, 2002 TD60, 152895, 53435, 31221, 4544, 4055, 3199, 3103|
|649||Powell Obs. in Kansas, 5 in MPECs 2007-M29, 2007-M31 & 2007-M32 -- 2007 MK6, C/2007 M3, 2007 MC4, 2007 LU19, 2007 LB15|
|H06||RAS Obs. Mayhill in New Mexico, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|473||Remanzacco Obs. in Italy, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|104||San Marcello Pistoiese Obs. in Italy, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
|H36||Sandlot Obs. in Kansas, 2 in MPECs 2007-M31 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, C/2007 M3|
|691||Spacewatch 0.9m telescope in Arizona, 1 in MPEC 2007-M29 -- 52750|
|291||Spacewatch 1.8m telescope in Arizona, 3 in MPEC 2007-M29 -- 2007 MG, 2007 LB15, 2007 LS|
|673||Table Mtn. Obs. in southern California, 2 in MPECs 2007-M30 & 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3, C/2007 M2|
|6735||Jim Young via Table Mtn. Obs. in southern California, 2 in MPECs 2007-M32 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, 2007 MK6|
|A55||Vallemare di Borbona Obs. in Italy, 3 in MPECs 2007-M31, 2007-M32 & 2007-M33 -- 2007 ML6, 2007 MK6, C/2007 M3|
|198||Wildberg Obs. in Germany, 1 in MPEC 2007-M31 -- C/2007 M3|
Chronology on 23 June '07
Times are UTC for when the items were noted by Major News.
|0005 6/24||Grabbed MPEC 2007-M34 - Comet C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) - see above|
|1726||Grabbed MPEC 2007-M32 - 2007 MK6 - see above|
Grabbed MPEC 2007-M33 - 2007 ML6 - see above
|1708||Added MOS paper, "A possible impact crater for the 1908 Tunguska Event" - see above|
Added link to news story, "Brushfire triggers Madera evacuation"
Added link to news story, "Has a Tunguska Crater Been Found?"
|1558||Grabbed MPEC 2007-M30 - Comet C/2007 M2 (Catalina) - see above|
Grabbed MPEC 2007-M31 - Comet C/2007 M3 (LINEAR) - see above
|1317||Added MOS paper, "Methane and ethane on the bright Kuiper belt object 2005 FY9" - see above|
Added MOS paper, "The Mass of Dwarf Planet Eris" - see above
Added MOS paper, "The surface of 2003 EL61 in the near infrared" - see above
Added MOS paper, "Volatile loss and retention on Kuiper belt objects" - see above
Added news report, "Bits & pieces"
Added link to news story, "Airborne Astronomy in View at NASA's Palmdale Gallery"
|1315||Grabbed MPEC 2007-M29 - Daily Orbit Update - see above|