From time to time, as relevant images about minor objects currently in the news become available from observers or from public news sources, we include one with a brief caption at the top of our daily news. This page catalogs the images posted this year along with their captions and links. (Jump to this year's latest.)
Like the unseen solar observatory STEREO-B spacecraft trailing Earth and passing through the Earth-Sun L4 point, STEREO-A is visualized here at L5 on August 1st this year. Both vehicles have begun looking for planetary materials that may have formed or collected in these vast zones of neutral gravitational forces. Volunteers are requested to help search resulting images online. See news here and here. Credit: NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio.
All remaining impact solutions were removed today for highly unusual object 2009 HC82. Discovered April 29th by the Catalina Sky Survey, it was posted as a risk on May 4th following observations reported that morning from Peter Birtwhistle in England (including the frames stacked into this image, note the faint dot at center). 2009 HC82 is large for an NEO, and possibly larger yet if it is an inactive comet nucleus, as suggested by its retrograde orbit. Image ©copyright 2009 Great Shefford Observatory. See more info.
The Pan-STARRS PS1 prototype on Haleakala in Hawaii, seen here during its 30 June 2006 dedication, has appeared in MPECs for the first time with today's Daily Orbit Update, with two objects observed from 30 Oct. to 3 Nov. last year. Photo by Rob Ratkowski/HAA Maui courtesy of UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA).
Southern Jupiter impact? The bright infrared signature of an unusual optically dark spot is seen in this July 20th image from the Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii after discovery by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley in New South Wales. See more images. This image courtesy of NASA/JPL/IRTF.
Sound and look familiar? It was exactly fifteen years ago that pieces of comet C/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (1993e) struck Jupiter, during 16-22 July 1994.
Jupiter event follow-up: A NASA news release yesterday reports that "scientists decided to interrupt the recently refurbished [Hubble Space Telescope's] checkout and calibration to take the image of a new, expanding spot on the giant planet on July 2" apparently caused by an "impacting object ... the size of several football fields." (See earlier report.) This image courtesy of NASA, ESA, Heidi Hammel (SSI Boulder), and the Jupiter Impact Team.
Goldstone made this radar imagery two months ago today showing asteroid 136617 1994 CC with two moonlets, "only the second triple system known in the near-Earth population" (the other is 153591 2001 SN263). Image credit: NASA/JPL/GSSR.
Aorounga Crater, one of three related impact structures in Chad, photographed from the International Space Station on July 25th this year. See ground photographs here. Photo courtesy of NASA/JSC.
Mt. Wilson Observatory in southern California was without staff or fire fighters as it was feared the "Station" wild fire could overwhelm the mountain top yesterday. This image, from the 150-ft. (50-meter) Solar Tower Telescope webcam at 3:12pm Monday, shows thick smoke to the west, beyond broadcast towers. See observatory and university fire reports here and here and news published here and here. Image ©Copyright 2009 UCLA Dept. of Physics & Astronomy. Update: L.A. Times report.
NASA's LCROSS mission, now dedicated to the late Walter Cronkite, has announced the selection of the lunar south polar crater Cabeus A to be the target for a two-stage impact at 4:30am PDT (1130 UTC) October 9th. Amateur and casual observers are invited to participate with 10" telescope or larger (finder charts, more info here and here). Image courtesy of New Mexico State Univ. Tortugas Observatory.
Sky & Telescope and NASA JPL are helping backyard observers to spot the presently bright tenth largest Main Belt asteroid, now visible with binoculars (in good seeing conditions) in Pisces not too far from Jupiter. This adaptive optics image of 3 Juno came from Sallie Baliunas et al. in 2003 using the 2.54-meter Hooker Telescope on Mt. Wilson.