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

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Updated: 9 January 2007

Notes: 1) Many of these links are also carried on A/CC's RSS news feed and may appear there first.
2) News release links are fairly stable but news media links often aren't, so grab pages now you might need later.
3) Bold daily dates are UTC. Unless otherwise stated, dates for news items are those declared by the sources.
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[ October 2006 News | News Archive | December 2006 News ]
30
November
2006
Thursday

29
November
2006
Wednesday
  • "Light in sky probably space junk or meteor," The Decatur Daily 29 Nov. - Quote: "At 5:28 p.m. Tuesday, Morgan County 911 lines began ringing."
     KEYWORDS: 2006 Nov. 28 Alabama event
  • "'UFO' sightings most likely meteors," ABC Australia "The World Today" radio transcript - Quote: "Tony Beresford: It was just one particular meteor which was widely observed."
     KEYWORDS: 2006 Nov. 27 Australian event
  • "Rosetta warms up for Mars swing-by," ESA 29 Nov. - Quote: "Between 2 and 3 January 2007 Rosetta will ... take a look at the asteroid 21-Lutetia... The purpose of this 36-hour observation campaign is to understand the rotation direction of the asteroid [to help] study it in greater detail in July 2010, when the spacecraft will pass within about 2000 km of the asteroid."
     KEYWORDS: comet mission
  • "Study: Single Meteorite Impact Killed Dinosaurs," LiveScience.com 28 Nov. - Quote: "The Demerara Rise sample ... revealed a unique layer composed of impact-related material, but none above or below that layer."
     KEYWORDS: Chicxulub crater, impact science, K-T Boundary
  • "New Horizons, Not Quite to Jupiter, Makes First Pluto Sighting," NASA New Horizons mission 28 Nov. - Quote: "This latest optical navigation test simulated the conditions under which LORRI will be required to find a Kuiper Belt object (and potential flyby target) as New Horizons approaches Pluto."
     KEYWORDS: space-based astronomy

28
November
2006
Tuesday
  • "Meteor 'fireball' lights up sky," News.com.au 28 Nov. - Quote: "Police in South Australia have said they took calls from just after 8.00pm local time (8.30pm AEDT) yesterday from Renmark and Loxton in the Riverland, most Adelaide suburbs and then from people living south of the city."
     KEYWORDS: 2006 Nov. 27 Australian event

27
November
2006
Monday
  • "'Fireball' shoots across SA sky," ABC Australia 27 Nov. - Quote: "There have been reports of at least one large fireball in the sky over south-eastern South Australia... soon after 8:00pm ACDT [followed by] a large explosion."
    • "Sunset 'comet' reported across state," News.com.au 27 Nov. - Quote: "Residents in central and western Victoria have reported seeing a bright light ... streaking across the sky [at] about 8.30pm (AEDT)." - Note: The page at this URL was replaced on Nov. 28th with a new report.
        KEYWORDS: 2006 Nov. 27 Australian event
  • "A Season for Thanksgiving," NASA New Horizons mission 22 Nov. (posted 27 Nov.) - Quote: "We have more fuel aboard than anyone rightfully deserved to expect, and our spacecraft has flown 300-plus days without a single 'Go Safe.'"
     KEYWORDS: Jupiter, Pluto
  • "Meteorite days strike Morris Township," Daily Record 27 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: Derek Yoost
  • "Arecibo Observes Asteroid," Cornell Daily Sun 27 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: 66391 1999 KW4, planetary radar

25
November
2006
Saturday
  • "Dig turns up little at mysterious Newport Tower," AP at WPRI-TV 25 Nov. - Quote: "Archaeologists say the excavation yielded [not much]. However, the team believes it found part of a small meteorite that fell more than two-thousand years ago."
     KEYWORDS: Rhode Island

24
November
2006
Friday
  • A/CC has received an eyewitness report of a fireball observed on Tuesday evening Nov. 21st falling to the northeast of Austin, Texas at about 9:55pm CST. If you observed this event, please send a note about it.
     KEYWORDS: bright meteor

23
November
2006
Thursday
  • "Closing in on an unruly gang of objects beyond the planets," San Diego Union-Tribune 23 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: Kuiper Belt, Pluto
  • "Views of space available to rent online," Albuquerque Tribune 23 Nov. - Quote:"About four years ago, [Arnie] Rosner set up two telescopes at an observatory in Mayhill. He quickly expanded to five to accommodate demand for the service. The Australian telescopes joined a couple of months ago, and he hopes the Israeli telescope will be online within the week."
     KEYWORDS: 117715 Carlkirby, Rent-a-Scope
  • "China's new Schmidt telescope's test observation successful," Xinhua at People's Daily 23 Nov. - Update: This telescope's location is given as being "at the Mount Zijin Observatory ... in the suburb of Huai'an city of east China's Jiangsu Province." The publication reported a day later about the same or a related telescope "on Yutai Observation Station [which] is Huaian city, Jiangsu province, and was set-up by the Zi Jinshan Observatory." Purple Mountain Observatory, aka Zijin Shan Observatory, is near Nanjing in Jiangsu province, a good distance south of Huai'an.
     KEYWORDS: Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • "Scientists flick switch on giant telescope," Reuters 22 Nov. - Note: See also the Large Millimeter Telescope Web site and A/CC's 11 March 2004 report (may not view well in Firefox browsers).
     KEYWORDS: Mexico, Sierra Grande, sub/millimeter astronomy
  • "When the lights go out, the real show begins," Christian Science Monitor 24 Nov. posted 22 Nov. - Note: An ode to the joys of meteor watching.
     KEYWORDS: dark skies
  • "Picking Up the Pieces," The Columbus Dispatch 21 Nov. - Quote: "Even mundane meteorites from the asteroid belt soon will be in demand as the U.S. and China ramp up the search for ways to mine asteroids for minerals, rocket fuel and other material to aid space exploration."
     KEYWORDS: ANSMET, Antarctica, Sahara

21
November
2006
Tuesday
  • "Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre," ESA Rosetta mission status report 21 Nov. - Quote: "A Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre took place on 13 November ... to improve the accuracy of the Mars approach in January 2007... [Next] is the first Payload Active Checkout... The first pass for this intense combined payload operations campaign is scheduled on 27 November. The campaign will last four weeks."
     KEYWORDS: comet mission
  • "New telescope helps scientists track down threats to Planet Earth," Xinhua at People's Daily 21 Nov. - Quote: "The telescope, measuring one meter in diameter, has been tested in a branch observatory belonging to Mount Zijin Observatory ... in east China's Jiangsu Province."
     KEYWORDS: NEO search
  • "China to participate in Russian flight to Phobos" (temporary URL), RIA Novosti 21 Sept. - Quote: "An agreement is being prepared whereby a Chinese micro-satellite, worth some $1 billion, will be installed on the Russian station Phobos-soil" as part of a 2009-2011 Phobos-sample return mission. - Note: Also available at SpaceDaily 22 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: Mars
  • "Why Planets Will Never Be Defined," Space.com 21 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: IAU planet definition

20
November
2006
Monday

19
November
2006
Sunday
  • "The Leonids," SpaceWeather.com gallery 19 Nov. - Quote: "The Leonid meteor shower of 2006 was supposed to be faint, but some sky watchers in Europe saw spectacular fireballs."
     KEYWORDS: meteor photography
  • "Kitt Peak gives you views all the way to the heavens," Arizona Daily Star 19 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: astronomy tourism

17
November
2006
Friday
  • "The Threat is Out There," Popular Mechanics December issue, posted 17 Nov. - Note: Steven Chesley's risk analysis mentioned in this article can be found as a 614Kb PDF at the B612 Foundation Web site.
     KEYWORDS: 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4), hazard mitigation

16
November
2006
Thursday

15
November
2006
Wednesday

14
November
2006
Tuesday
  • Giuseppe Longo tells A/CC on November 14th that he has added "a great number of new pictures" to the gallery pages of the Tunguska Home Page at the University of Bologna, and "Other images will follow."
    • Here's another but unrelated Tunguska news item: "'Tungusky' Reserve celebrates a holiday," Newslab.ru 13 Nov. - Quote: "The world-famous reserve State nature reserve 'Tungusky' was founded in October 1995. It is of extraordinary interest as the only area on the Earth giving an opportunity to study the ecological consequences of space disasters directly."
        KEYWORDS: Evenkia Autonomous Area, Siberia, Tungusko-Chunsky region
  • "Meteor theory's impact: Cosmic blows could occur more frequently," N.Y. Times at Intl. Herald Tribune 14 Nov.- Quote: "At the southern end of Madagascar lie four enormous wedge-shaped sediment deposits [which point] toward the middle of the Indian Ocean where a newly discovered crater, 29 kilometers, or 18 miles, in diameter, lies 3,800 meters, or 12,500 feet, below the surface... Burckle Crater has not been dated, but [is estimated at] 4,500 to 5,000 years old." - Note: This article also reports that two other young crater candidates have been similarly found north of Australia.     KEYWORDS: flood myths, Google Earth, Holocene Impact Working Group
  • "Defending the Planet," MIT Review 14 Nov. - Quote: "Rusty Schweickart '56, SM '63, has been to space and rescued Skylab. Now he's on a mission to save Earth from asteroid destruction."
     KEYWORDS: B612 foundation, hazard mitigation

12
November
2006
Sunday
  • "Kaikoura 'distress flare' remains a mystery," Radio New Zealand 12 Nov. - Quote: "The flare was spotted at about 11pm by several people and reported to police... [It] may have been a meteorite."
     KEYWORDS: 2006-11-11 New Zealand event
  • "Catch a falling star," The Columbian 12 Nov. - Quote: "'In 1988, there were maybe six full-time meteorite dealers on the planet,' [Edwin] Thompson said, adding that now there are probably 300 people who call themselves dealers."
     KEYWORDS: Oregon
  • "Repair finished for some telescopes, continue for Keck," AP at KPUA-AM 12 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: 2006 Oct. 15 Hawaiian earthquake, Gemini North, Subaru

11
November
2006
Saturday
  • "CU's Arecibo Observatory faces job cuts," Ithaca Journal 11 Nov. - Quote: "'Arecibo will be in more of a survey mode where it will survey the sky rather than taking all of the individual investigations programs that it has [now]...' said [Cornell vice-provost] Burns... The likelihood of coming up with the much needed $4 million is very slim."
     KEYWORDS: NSF funding
  • "Rosetta Status Report," ESA Rosetta mission 10 Nov. - Quote: "[The] Rosetta Plasma Consortium carried out a measurement campaign in the (far) downstream tail region of comet Honda between 4 and 9 July 2006... OSIRIS will observe Lutetia, the mission's second asteroid target in January and in April Rosetta will support a joint Jupiter observation campaign in support of NASA's New Horizon mission."
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
  • "Shooting Star Reflections: The Leonid Meteor Storm of 1966," Space.com 10 Nov. - Quote: "During the weekend of Nov. 18, there is a chance that a brief surge of meteors may be observed from Western Europe and Eastern North America."
     KEYWORDS: Leonids
  • "Asteroid named after Chinese high school boy," People's Daily 10 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: 217311 Zhu Ruochen

9
November
2006
Thursday
  • "Piece of the cosmos in Valdosta?" WALB-TV 9 Nov. - Quote: "Astronomers at Valdosta State University are studying a rock they believe could be a meteorite. The rock was brought in by two Valdosta residents who say they saw a blue light and the rock fall out of the sky, almost hitting their car."
     KEYWORDS: Georgia
  • "Arecibo May Lose Funding," The Cornell Daily Sun 9 Nov. - Quote: "By cutting Arecibo’s funding, the NSF may actually be endangering the safety of the planet... 'If the budget is reduced 25 percent, we can’t operate the radar...' NASA has a Congressional mandate to identify and characterize all the near-earth asteroids [so] Cornell will urge NASA to fund the planetary radar functions of Arecibo from now on."
     KEYWORDS: NSF funding
  • "Meteorites: Friend or Foe?" NASA Astrobiology Magazine 9 Nov. - Quote: "[Some of] the particles collected by the Stardust mission ... seem to be rich in calcium and aluminum, which ... formed close to the sun. But we expected comets to only have grains that formed far away from the sun."
     KEYWORDS: 81P/Wild 2, interplanetary dust, planetary disks
  • "Next Generation Imaging Detectors," Rochester Inst. of Technology 9 Nov. - Quote: "The new imaging sensor [functions] at wavelengths spanning from ultraviolet to mid-infrared [and] will shrink the required hardware on NASA planetary missions ... to a tiny thumb-sized chip. It also will enhance images captured by ground telescopes that will rival those from orbiting telescopes... 'First tests [show] it uses 50 times less power than the industry’s current best.'"
     KEYWORDS: CCD technology, spacecraft instrumentation
  • "Parks program offers NASA Space Colony Challenge," Westford Eagle 9 Nov. - Quote: "And there is room for everyone: Materials from a single asteroid can build space colonies with living space equal to about 500 times Earth's surface area." - Note: See more info at NASA Ames' Space Settlement Contest for grade schoolers.
     KEYWORDS: asteroid development, student outreach

8
November
2006
Wednesday
  • "Steps to Space," A/CC 8 Nov. report on the Wirefly X Prize Cup space exhibition along with some recent info about the potential of asteroids and comets as resources for a space-based economy and spacefaring civilization and early prospects for student missions to minor objects.
     KEYWORDS: minor object development, student outreach

7
November
2006
Tuesday

6
November
2006
Monday
  • "Science loses when PR becomes top priority" [link unavailable 9 Jan. 2006], Springfield News-Leader - 6 Nov. - Quote: "[This] is not the first use of GPR [ground-penetrating radar] to image buried impact craters or meteorites. In fact, it is not even the first Brenham meteorite to be imaged using GPR. [High school senior Katie Click] did that two weeks earlier [while] conducting her research for the Ozark Science and Engineering Fair." - Note: This op-ed piece from an educator also criticizes scientific conduct, recently reported impact dating, and commercial meteorite hunting. See October news links for more news related to the Brenham strewn field.
     KEYWORDS: Haviland Crater, Hopewell Culture, Kansas
  • "Seeking Out Meteorites," NASA Astrobiology Magazine 6 Nov. - Quote: "We know that meteorites have been falling on the Earth for 4.5 billion years, but the oldest age of terrestrial meteorites is about 2 million years... Now if you go to the moon, you’re going to be looking at rocks that fell anywhere from 100 million years ago to 10 million years ago... We don’t have really ancient rocks on the Earth, but there might be something ejected from Earth 4.2 billion years ago that is now on the moon."
     KEYWORDS: Mars meteorites
  • "Cornell statement concerning recommendations of NSF Senior Review," Cornell Univ. 6 Nov. at SpaceRef.com - Quote: "And by refocusing our facility's priorities over the next several months ... we are confident that Arecibo's remarkable research and educational programs will be kept strong into 2011 and beyond."
     KEYWORDS: NSF funding
  • "Restoring our view of space," The Honolulu Advertiser - 5 Nov. - Quote: "The three largest and most powerful optical telescopes on Mauna Kea still haven't resumed normal operations since the Oct. 15 earthquakes."     KEYWORDS: 2006 Oct. 15 Hawaiian earthquake, Gemini North, Keck, Subaru
  • "Build astronomical observatories on the Moon?" Physics Today 1 Nov. - Quote: "Two scientists debate the relative merits of Moon-based telescopes compared with ones in free space... The lunar regolith is composed largely of angular agglutinate fragments formed by billions of years of meteoritic impact." - Update: For more about the regolith problem, see "Lunar Explorers Face Moon Dust Dilemma" at Space.com 7 Nov.
     KEYWORDS: space-based astronomy
  • "Space Settlement Calendar Art Contest," National Space Soc. 1 Nov. - Quote, with emphasis added: "Four First Prizes will be awarded in each of the following four categories: 1. Orbital settlements, 2. Settlements in or on asteroids, 3. Settlements on the Moon, 4. Settlements on Mars."
     KEYWORDS: minor object development, space art

5
November
2006
Sunday
  • SpaceWeather.com on 4 and 5 Nov. has links to an image and movies of a bright comet diving into the Sun. On the SOHO recent discoveries chat page it is explained that this object, SOHO comet number 1213, was first noticed by John Sachs and is (or was) a Kreutz-group comet. It doesn't yet have a public IAU designation.
     KEYWORDS: amateur space-based astronomy
  • "Signals mixed on Kitt Peak facilities," Arizona Daily Star 5 Nov. - Quote: "Kitt Peak is home to 26 telescopes, but only a handful are owned and operated by Kitt Peak National Observatory" (KPNO).
    • "Sunspot in danger of closure," AP at Alamogordo Daily News 5 Nov. - Note: This article is related to the larger news story but not to minor object science.
    • "NOAO in the Astronomy Senior Review," NOAO 3 Nov. - Note: This news release mentions the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), an 8.4-meter wide-field telescope to be located in Chile with a mission that includes studying Solar System minor objects.
    • "From The Ground Up: Balancing the NSF Astronomy Program" (2Mb PDF), NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences Senior Review Committee 22 Oct. - Note: Among other recommendations, such as possibly closing Arecibo, this report questions the expense of the LSST in comparison with Pan-STARRs, which has a similar mission at much lower cost. The report supports the Virtual Observatory (NVO) and goes on at length about "strong arguments for improved and assured community access to small and mid-sized telescopes... Over half the [optical-infrared] astronomers in the US have no access to ground-based facilities save through NOAO... Instead of further divestiture of the CTIO and KPNO telescopes, as proposed by NOAO, [the committee] recommends that NOAO should acknowledge a responsibility to lead the utilization of small and mid-sized telescopes in the public sector."
        KEYWORDS: NSF funding

4
November
2006
Saturday

3
November
2006
Friday

2
November
2006
Thursday

1
November
2006
Wednesday

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