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Selected links to asteroid, comet, and meteor news   -   June 2006

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Updated: 3 August 2006

Notes: 1) Most of these links were also carried on A/CC's RSS news feed. 2) News release links are fairly stable but news media links are often temporary, so grab any pages now that might be useful to you later.

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28-30
June
2006
NASA NEO workshop
  • Morrison "NEO News" (30 June) David Morrison's "NEO News" E-mail newsletter posted at SpaceRef.com:  Info about 2004 XP14 and a meeting report: "On June 26-29, nearly one hundred scientists, engineers, astronauts, and managers from NASA, industry, and academia met in Colorado for an informal workshop to discuss how best to respond to NASA's new Congressional mandate to survey and characterize sub-km-diameter NEAs in order to understand and mitigate the threat of impacts by such objects."
  • "NASA to Formulate Planetary Protection Plan" (28 June) Space.com article:  "Selected experts from a variety of fields are [in Vail, Colo.] this week at a NASA workshop on Near-Earth Object (NEO) Detection, Characterization and Threat Mitigation ... carried out under direction of the U.S. Congress."

26-30
June
2006
2004 XP14's close passage July 2-3
  • "Sunday Night's Flyby" (late June) Sky & Telescope article:  "[2004 XP14's] obvious motion in the eyepiece field will be a dead giveaway that you're looking right at it. At its fastest, between 4:00 and 5:00 Universal Time, it will be traveling the Moon's angular diameter every 4 minutes." PDF sky charts are provided.
  • "Skywatchers to Glimpse Close Flyby" (30 June) Space.com column:  "As darkness falls across North America on Sunday evening, July 2, the asteroid will be situated along the border of the constellations Aries, the Ram and Taurus, the Bull ... and between 7:00 and 9:00 UT [3-5am Monday EDT], it will cut straight across the famous W of Cassiopeia."
  • "Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3" (26 June) Space.com article:  "An asteroid [2004 XP14] possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter ... will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon's average distance from Earth."
  • 2004 XP14 was first brought to the attention of A/CC's readers on June 10th as part of telling about then current and coming objects passing within ten lunar distances of Earth. Further reporting came on June 27th and 29th.

29
June
2006
CU-B Student Dust Counter named -- New Horizons news release:  "The student-built science instrument [SDC] on NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto has been renamed to honor ... Venetia Burney Phair, who at age 11 offered the name 'Pluto' for the newly discovered ninth planet in 1930." This news release is also available from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-B).
Asteroid scientist -- London, England Telegraph article:  See article end for a profile of Dr. Sima Adhya, researcher on the ESA Don Quijote asteroid deflection precursor mission proposed by QinetiQ in England.

28
June
2006
McCarthy Observatory expands -- Danbury, Conn. News-Times article:  "The John J. McCarthy Observatory is nearing completion of its first major expansion project since its dedication in December 2000 -- a new sky deck that officials say will allow the observatory to expand its educational offerings... [Monty] Robson said the observatory also hopes to acquire an All-Sky Camera capable of providing 360-degree coverage of the night sky."

27
June
2006
Diversity in protoplanetary disks -- Subaru Telescope news release:  Images "show radiation emitted by [HD142527's] disk out to beyond 100 astronomical units, or three times the distance between Neptune and the Sun. This is the first time that a protoplanetary disk has been detected in the mid-infrared to such a distance."
Hubble finds second beta Pictoris disk -- NASA news release:  "Hubble images clearly show a distinct secondary disk that is tilted by about 4 degrees from the main disk... [The] fact that we can still see these disks around a 10- to 20-million-year-old star means that the dust is being replenished by collisions between planetesimals." Notes: The beta Pictoris system is important because of what it tells about formation of the Solar System and its minor objects, and because its dust is believed to stream into our own system. This work was done with the Hubble Space Telescope's ACS camera, which was out of operation during late June (see a NASA June 30th news item at SpaceRef.com about successfully restarting ACS).

25-27
June
2006
Pan-STARRS PS-1 prototype
  • "New telescope will hunt dangerous asteroids" (27 June) New Scientist news article:  "[PS1] is currently fitted with a small camera for testing purposes [but] it will be upgraded to a mid-size, 300 megapixel camera in September [and] in March 2007 ... will install its full-size camera, which at 1.4 billion pixels will be the largest camera on any ground-based telescope." Note: Much of this article was repeated at The Register June 28th.
  • "Telescope plan loses funding" (25 June) Honolulu, Hawaii Advertiser article:  In this report about NASA unfunding the Keck Observatory outrigger project, it says, "Astronomers are moving ahead with plans to redevelop two existing astronomy sites on Mauna Kea to replace aging or outdated telescopes with new equipment. The Pan-STARRS project financed by the U.S. Air Force will replace UH's 36-year-old 88-inch telescope on Mauna Kea."
  • Pan-STARRS home

25
June
2006
Great Sand Sea glass -- London, England Sunday Times article:  How King Tut got his glass beetle. A loose rubble "object about 390ft in diameter and travelling at 12.4 miles a second would indeed produce enough heat to melt sand and create glass without leaving a crater as it broke up in the atmosphere."

24
June
2006
Asteroids named for couple -- Univ. of Toronto News@UofT news article:  About 32207 Mairepercy (2000 OQ7) and 32208 Johnpercy (2000 OR7), which were in the namings batch published on June 13th.

7-24
June
2006
June 2nd north-central North American event
  • "Fireball sightings stretch to Wyoming" (24 June) Grand Forks, N.D. Herald column:  More eyewitness accounts and a great idea: use Google Earth to pinpoint your geographic location when you report a fireball.
  • "Great balls o' fire" (10 June) Grand Forks, N.D. Herald column:  Eyewitness account.
  • "Quotes from meteor-sighters" (7 June) Duluth, Min.. News Tribune item:  Green and long lasting.
  • "Fire in the sky" (7 June) Duluth, Minn. News Tribune article:  "The mysterious light seen over the Northland on Friday night was an especially bright meteor seen in at least two states and Canada." Article also available at the Grand Forks, N.D. Herald here.

23
June
2006
Planned lunar impact -- ESA news release:  The SMART-1 spacecraft at mission's end is being maneuvered for an impact that may be observable from Earth in early September.
Centaur binaries -- Sky & Telescope article:  "2002 CR46 is the first known binary Centaur [and now also 2003 FX128]... The sticking power of 2002 CR46 hints at the existence of binary comets."
Object mystery ironed out -- Bendigo, Vict., Australia Advertiser article:  This report indicates what was found is likely a "meteorwrong."

22
June
2006
Pluto's two small moons named -- Southwest Research Institute news release:  "The names Nix and Hydra have been approved for the two small satellites of Pluto discovered in May 2005." See also NASA's June 22nd announcement.
Manicouagan impact crater winter drilling results -- Manicouagan Minerals, Inc. news release on CNW -- The company's PDF version of this news release includes a map.
Meteorite collection -- Orange County, Calif. Register article:  "In just eight years, [Dave] Radosevich, 42, of Garden Grove has amassed more than 300 meteorites... Most meteorites hail from the Asteroid Belt beyond Mars. But Allende is believed to come from deeper space."

21
June
2006
Haviland meteorite festival -- Pratt County, Kans. Tribune article:  "The entire community of Haviland is gearing up for its first ever Meteorite Festival, 'Ab Astra: From the Stars,' July 7-8 on the Barclay College campus... The Arnold meteorite and others will be on display to the public, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own finds in for meteorite expert Dr. Don Stimpson to examine."

20
June
2006
Planetary defense proposal -- Space.com article:  "French scientists have suggested using one asteroid to destroy another rather than letting Earth get pummeled... The new idea is to capture a relatively small asteroid [and] gradually direct the asteroid to a Lagrange point [to be held there] until needed."
June 19th Ohio event -- New Philadelphia, Ohio Times-Reporter article:  Report of "a deafening boom about 12:40 a.m. Monday" and "a marvelous fireball with red streaks in the sky."

19
June
2006
Undergrad spots lunar impact -- Philadelphia, Penn. Evening Bulletin article:  "NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office released footage capturing a lunar meteoroid impact, only the second time such an event was recorded on film." See also Science@NASA news item from 13 June as well as 28 April and 23 Dec.

17-18
June
2006
Meteorite pieces return to N.D. -- AP wire story at Grand Forks, N.D. Herald:  "The Richardton meteorite is the only meteorite fall ever witnessed in North Dakota." Article also available from Minneapolis, Min. WCCO-TV here.

9-17
June
2006
June 7th northern Norway event

15
June
2006
Main Belter 2002 JF56 flyby -- New Horizons news release:  The "first spacecraft to Pluto tested its tracking and imaging capabilities this week on asteroid 2002 JF56, a relatively tiny space rock orbiting in the asteroid belt." Closest approach "occurred at 4:05 UTC on June 13, at distance of 101,867 kilometers" (0.27 lunar distance) and "the asteroid (with an estimated diameter of about 2.5 kilometers) appears as a bright, barely resolved pinpoint of light against the background of space." There is more about this passage at the New Horizons Web site in "The PI's Perspective" from June 1st.
Three Neptune Trojans found -- Carnegie Institution news release:  "Evidence suggests that the Neptune Trojans are more numerous than either the asteroids in the main belt or the Jupiter Trojans... All four of the known Neptune Trojans reside in the planet's leading Lagrangian point... The very existence of [one newly found highly-inclined object] suggests that there are many more like it, and that Neptune's Trojans as a whole occupy thick clouds with complex, interlaced orbits." See also the MPC/CBAT Neptune Trojans list.

14
June
2006
South African fossil meteorite -- Planetary Science Research Discoveries news article:  "A meteorite of unusual chondritic composition was found in a highly unlikely place, challenging how we think about colossal impact events on Earth... The Morokweng crater ... is at the edge of the Kalahari Desert in northern South Africa ... and is one of the largest terrestrial impact craters known today."
Meteor research rewarded -- Courtenay, B.C., Canada Comox Valley Record article:  "Ed Majden received the Chant Medal for his work in meteor spectroscopy from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in May... He has recorded 17 meteors with his film spectrographs."

13
June
2006
Lunar impacts recorded -- Science@NASA news item:  "On May 2, 2006, a meteoroid hit the Moon's Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium) [and] last November 7th [a] piece of debris from Comet Encke struck the plains of Mare Imbrium" (Dec. 23rd report). See also an April 28th item which reports from Apollo seismic data that "in 1972, a 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) asteroid hit the Moon just north of Mare Nubium."

9
June
2006
Earth co-orbital 2003 YN107 -- Science@NASA news article:  "'2003 YN107 arrived in 1999,' says Paul Chodas of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL, 'and it's been corkscrewing around Earth ever since.'" Note: This small asteroid passed inside Earth's orbit unseen in the daytime sky at 8.68 lunar distances on June 10th. See A/CC's "Passers-by" report.

7
June
2006
Minor-object news from beta Pictoris -- NASA news release:  "Asteroids and comets orbiting Beta Pictoris might contain large amounts of carbon-rich material, such as graphite and methane... Alternatively, Beta Pictoris might be similar to how our solar system was long ago. While local asteroids and comets don't seem carbon-rich today, some research suggests that certain meteorites called enstatite chondrite meteorites formed in a carbon-rich environment."

2
June
2006
New PT extinction event crater candidate -- Ohio State Univ. news release:  "Planetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs -- an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history. The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet."

1
June
2006
Initial Hayabusa scientific results -- ISAS/JAXAS news item:  Many images and illustrations from the Hayabusa (MUSES-C) mission to NEA 25143 Itokawa (1998 SF36).

Editor's note: Although some news links were provided via A/CC's XML RSS news feed during the interim, these were not archived, and there was no A/CC news reporting beside our regular semi-automated CRT and small object reports between June 2006 and September 2005. A/CC's news reporting had been almost daily since March 2002 when we had one person working full-time on the Web site up until late 2004.
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