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Selected links to asteroid, comet, and meteor news   -   January 2007

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Updated: 16 February 2007

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[ December 2006 News | News Archive | February 2007 News ]
31
January
2007
Wednesday
  • First results are appearing from the 372 Palma occultation that was viewable over much of the U.S. last Friday night. A preliminary profile of the Main Belt asteroid has been posted here. It comes from a painstaking compilation of reports from widely separated observers who watched for the background star to blink out and back on as the asteroid's shadow from that star passed over them, crossing the continent in about three minutes. See observers Derek Breit and David Dunham's pages telling about the experience.
          Following some of the links from those pages brings you to an IOTA European Section call for observations of an occultation by Pluto that will be visible across the southwestern U.S. in the evening of March 18th.
     KEYWORDS: stellar occultations
  • "Agenda Set for Planetary Defense Conference," The Aerospace Corporation 29 Jan. - Quote: "NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Simon 'Pete' Worden (Brig. Gen., USAF, ret.) will deliver the keynote address on March 5 to open the second Planetary Defense Conference organized by The Aerospace Corporation and co-sponsored by NASA, the European Space Agency, the Planetary Society, and other organizations."
     KEYWORDS: hazards mitigation

30
January
2007
Tuesday
  • In A/CC reporting today, see news about radar observation now under way of 2006 AM4, which is classified just outside the "small asteroid" definition and which JPL reports "is among the most rapidly rotating near-Earth asteroids we have ever tried to observe with radar," and also news about 2003 WP25 becoming only the third small asteroid to be observed at four oppositions, caught by Antares Observatory in Illinois last Friday morning UT.
     KEYWORDS: Earth's busy neighborhood
  • "Neptune May Have Thousands of Escorts," Space.com 30 Jan. - Notes: This article reports that a search is being made to find Trojans trailing Neptune (none are known) that might be flown past by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2014 on its way to Pluto. See also a Carnegie Institution news release from last June and the MPC's Neptune Trojans list.
     KEYWORDS: orbital evolution
  • "Physicist to be recognized for helping 'revolutionize astronomy'," Washington Univ. in St. Louis - Quote: "[Ernst K. Zinner] has helped develop and fine-tune increasingly sophisticated instruments [that] use a measurement technique called secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to determine the isotopic and elemental composition of microscopic samples, such as interplanetary dust particles and meteorite grains that come from stars."
     KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry
  • "Asia's largest optical telescope installed in south China," People's Daily 30 Jan. - Note: See also Yunnan Observatory.
     KEYWORDS: Lijiang Observation Station
  • "Hubbleís main camera stops working," ESA 30 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: HST, space-based astronomy
  • "Exploding fireball proves a mystery," Waikato Times 30 Jan. - Quote: "It might have been the most exciting event to occur in Te Kauwhata since the last police booze sting."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 28 New Zealand event
  • "Cloud Formations Draw Interest," WTOK-TV 30 Jan. - Quote: "On Monday, people from Mississippi to Texas reported seeing what they thought was a meteor... The National Weather Service calls the phenomenon 'hole punch clouds.'" - Note: See more about this phenomenon here and here.
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 30 southern U.S. event
  • "Space rocks Wadhwa's world at meteorite center," ASU Insight 29 Jan. - Quote: "Incredulous at first that pieces of Mars were here on Earth, Wadhwa knew immediately what direction her career would go."
     KEYWORDS: Center for Meteorite Studies
Minor object science papers
  • "The Roles of Discs for Planetary Systems" by Li-Chin Yeh & Ing-Guey Jiang, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 30 Jan.
  • "On the Dynamics of Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects" by Ing-Guey Jiang & Li-Chin Yeh, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 30 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: planetary disks

29
January
2007
Monday
  • "Amateur Astronomer Wins Pros' Accolades," Sky & Telescope dated 26 Jan. posted 29 Jan. - Quote: "The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Medal for 2006 to asteroid enthusiast Brian D. Warner [who has] 'facilitated a 21st-century renaissance in precision measurements of asteroid light curves.'" Note: This is a good time to mention that workshops on getting started in photometry will be held in southern California on May 22nd followed by the two-day 26th Symposium on Telescope Science. See the Society for Astronomical Sciences (SAS) Web site for more info and to read science papers from past symposiums.
     KEYWORDS: amateur astronomy
  • SpaceWeather.com reports on 29 Jan. that C/McNaught has become a morning comet in the southern hemisphere, and shows a photo from this morning taken by Gordon Garradd. That's not the only picture taking he has been doing, as evidenced today in MPEC 2007-B72 with newly discovered comet C/2007 B3 (Garradd), which was found by him at the Siding Spring Survey. This comet is presently calculated to come not much closer to the Sun than does Jupiter.     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Hubble Space Telecope's Main Camera Shuts Down," Space.com 29 Jan.
    • "Engineers Investigate Issue on One of Hubble's Science Instruments," NASA 29 Jan. - Quote: "An initial investigation indicates [the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)] has stopped functioning, and the input power feed to its Side B electronics package has failed. The instrument had been operating on its redundant electronics since June 30, 2006 [following] a malfunction. Engineers currently are assessing the option to return ACS science operations to the primary electronics so that observations could resume in a reduced mode."
        KEYWORDS: HST, space-based astronomy
  • "Ongoing Preparations for Mars Swing-by," ESA Rosetta mission status report 29 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
  • "NASA center employment, work rising," L.A. Daily News 28 Jan. Quote: "We expect [SOFIA, with the world's largest portable telescope] to be flown out to Dryden in the April time frame."
     KEYWORDS: airborne astronomy
  • "Space settlers in the making," The Star 28 Jan. - Quote: "The team from Garden International School (GIS) has qualified for the the semi-finals of a space competition organised by [NASA/Ames]... As a team, they had to produce a proposal and business plan for the construction of a space settlement in the Asteroid Belt."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid colonization
  • "Incorporating Space into Our Economic Sphere of Influence," comments by NASA's Michael Griffin to the World Economic Forum on 26 Jan., posted at SpaceRef.com 27 Jan. - Quote: "We have the technology and economic wherewithal to incorporate the benefits of space into our sphere of influence -- to exploit the vantage point of space and the space environment, and the natural resources of the moon, Mars, and near-Earth asteroids." - Note: NASA's copy of this speech is a PDF here.
     KEYWORDS:
  • "Search ends for 'plane'," Waikato Times 29 Jan. - Quote: "[A] number of people ... said they saw a fireball over Lake Waikare in northern Waikato ... yesterday afternoon."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 28 New Zealand event
  • "Meteorite Makes Its Debut," Home News Tribune 28 Jan. - Quote: "Crowds came in the hundreds Saturday to view the rock."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 2 New Jersey event
Minor object science paper
  • "The Formation of Ice Giants in a Packed Oligarchy: Instability and Aftermath" by Eric B. Ford & Eugene Chiang, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 29 Jan. - Quote: "In contrast to previous studies, we identify [disk surface density] < 0.1 Sigma as the regime relevant for understanding the evolution of the outer solar system."
     KEYWORDS: Kuiper Belt

27
January
2007
Saturday
  • "Critics not interested in telescopeís abilities," Honolulu Star-Bulletin 27 Jan. - Quote: "Air Force Col. Janet Augustine said Pan-STARRS is funded by Congress, and the Air Force did not ask for the money... After Pan-STARRS is built, the Air Force would have no hand in it. Air Force Major Scott Shroer said Pan-STARRS will not do classified work."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, Mauna Kea
  • "NASA to Slam Rocket into the Moon (on Purpose)!" SETI Inst. at Space.com 25 Jan. - Quote: "Telescopes all around the world and in space will also be pointed at the LCROSS impacts, [which in early 2009] will be so big that you will be able to observe them with reasonable grade amateur telescopes."
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts

26
January
2007
Friday
  • "Protest: 'No plan, no scopes'," The Honolulu Advertiser 26 Jan. - Quote: "Work ... to prepare the way for the proposed Pan-STARRS telescope on Mauna Kea should stop until a new management plan for protecting the mountain's cultural and environmental resources is completed, critics of the project said last night."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys
  • "Scientists find possible asteroid belt," UPI 26 Jan. - Note: For more about this subject, visit Margaret Moerchen's Web site and see a longer news report here (from Jan. 6th, reported by A/CC Jan. 8th below), which links to the related preprint.
     KEYWORDS: zeta Leporis
  • "Lutetia asteroid in Rosettaís spotlight," ESA 26 Jan. - Quote: "[2867 Steins and 21 Lutetia] will be visited at close range in September 2008 and July 2010, respectively, but the Rosetta scientists have already taken the opportunity to collect preliminary data about them... Steins was imaged by Rosetta on March 11, while Lutetia was first imaged by Rosetta during a 36-hour observation campaign on 2 and 3 January 2007, when the spacecraft was flying at about 245 million kilometres from the asteroid."
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
  • "Meteorite's origin traced by Czech geologists," Radio Prague 26 Jan. - Quote: "North-East Africa 003 is believed to have originally come from the Sea of Rains on the moon."
     KEYWORDS: lunar meteorites
  • "The Moon is a Harsh Witness," Science@NASA 26 Jan. - Quote: "The lunar regolith traps particles from the solar wind. And drill cores show that the solar wind had a different chemical composition 2 billion years ago than it does today."
     KEYWORDS: impact theory, lunar impacts
  • "Meteor-like object observed locally, across state," The Ledger Independent 25 Jan.
    • "Sonic Boom In The New River Valley?" WDBJ-TV 25 Jan. - Quote: "Martin Chapman [at the Virginia Tech Seismology Department reports] weak seismic activity at a seismograph in Giles County around 7:55 Wednesday night ... similar to that of a sonic boom."
    • "Tremors in Giles County," WSLS-TV 25 Jan. - Quote: "[Around] 8pm, researchers say the seismic station in Giles County did get a very short but intense seismic signal."
    • "Meteor Sightings Reported Across The State," WKYT-TV 25 Jan. - Quote: "The Frankfort [Kentucky] fire department received several calls of a plane crash around eight in the evening."
        KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 24 southeast U.S. event

25
January
2007
Thursday
  • "Mysterious lights reported Wednesday night," Fox Carolina 25 Jan. - Quote: "People from all across the upstate and western North Carolina reported seeing the light streak through the sky toward the ground ... around eight o'clock Wednesday night."     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 24 southeast U.S. event
  • "Scientists start search for planetary origins," London Natural History Museum 25 Jan. - Quote: "The Natural History Museum is leading the network of European institutions, including the Ondrejov observatory in the Czech Republic, in their quest to learn more about the beginnings of our planetary system... The European Commission awarded a four-year 2.6 million Euro grant to the project last month."
     KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry
  • "Spectacular comet on way out," The Nelson Mail 25 Jan. - Quote: "Lake Tekapo's Mt John Observatory resident astronomer Alan Gilmore ... warned that once it was gone, Comet McNaught was unlikely to appear in our skies for another 85,000 years."
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Students create space city," The Hindu 25 Jan. - Quote: "A space city located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter replete with support structures needed for 10,000 people to work and live, conceptualised by students of Little Flower High School, Abids, has qualified for semi finals of the annual Asian Regional Space Settlement Design Competition."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid colonization
  • "Experts gearing up for asteroid impact," UPI 24 Jan. - Quote: "You don't have to change much... one hundred thousandth of a mile an hour is enough, 10 years ahead of time, to cause an asteroid to miss the rendezvous with Earth."
     KEYWORDS: B612 Foundation
  • "'Black' Diamonds May Come From Outer Space," National Geographic 22 Jan. - Quote: "The acid test [for the extraterrestrial origin argument] would be to identify a carbonado body in the Asteroid Belt."
     KEYWORDS: carbanado diamonds

24
January
2007
Wednesday
  • "Meteorite that hit home to be displayed," AP at Courier Post 24 Jan. - Quote: "Rutgers' geology museum in New Brunswick plans to hold a one-day display of the meteorite during its annual open house, scheduled for Saturday."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 2 New Jersey event
  • "Understanding the Solar Systemís Earliest Days," Fordham Univ. 19 Jan. posted 24 Jan. - Quote: "Meteorites are to planetary scientists what fossils are to archeologists or ice cores are to climatologists."
     KEYWORDS: chondrites, cosmochemistry, Tagish Lake meteorite
  • "The Mad Scientist," by Guy Consolmagno, S.J. at Fordham Univ. 19 Jan. posted 24 Jan. - Quote: "The research I do now is an example of what I once heard another Jesuit scientist call 'orphan science'... My work includes a project to record the colors and light curves of Kuiper Belt objects ... we've measured a hundred, and there's a thousand more to see. I also have a 10-year program to measure the density and porosity of every class of meteorite."     KEYWORDS: Vatican Observatory meteorite collection
  • "Mystery light seen across Wales," BBC 24 Jan. - Quote: "The light was first seen at 0730 GMT." - Note: This story uses an unrelated image mislabled as "This meteor was spotted in Bridgend in October 2003." That photo can also be found on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site for 1 Oct. 2003 where it was at first described as a "sofa-sized" meteor and which to this day doesn't tell that that "event" was later deduced from multiple photos to be the contrail of a Concorde jet departing westward at sunset.
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 24 Wales event
  • "Still chance to see the comet," The Timaru Herald 24 Jan.     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Lunar Transient Phenomena," Science@NASA 23 Jan. - Quote: "When we see a flash of light [apparently] on the Moon, we always double-check that there was no piece of space junk passing by at that exact moment."
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts
  • "Friday's Stellar Vanishing Act," Sky & Telescope 23 Jan. - Quote: "The event will be visible along a track 120 miles (190 kilometers) wide extending [across the U.S. and] could be the most widely observed asteroid occultation in history."
     KEYWORDS: 372 Palma, stellar occultations
  • "One Year Down, Eight to Go, on the Road to Pluto," NASA New Horizons mission 23 Jan. - Quote: "We're looking for four to six boys and girls born on January 19, 2006, and another four to six kids who turned 10 that day [for] a new part of our Education and Public Outreach program called New Horizons Kids."
     KEYWORDS: Pluto mission
  • "Space tractor could deter killer asteroid," Honolulu Star-Bulletin 23 Jan. - Quote: "Only a few ounces of force applied over three years would be enough to slow or speed up an asteroid to avoid an Earth collision, said [astronaut Edward] Lu, a postdoctoral fellow at the UH astronomy institute from 1992 to 1995." - Note: This story has been picked up by AP and appears in slightly different form on many news Web sites, such as "Astronaut touts asteroid-bumping mission" at MSNBC on Jan. 24th.
     KEYWORDS: 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4), planetary defense

22
January
2007
Monday
  • "Comet cuts spectacular swathe across Victorian skies," The Age 23 Jan.     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Comet Wild 2's Complex Chemistry," Chemical & Engineering News 22 Jan. - Quote: "Given the relative delicateness of organic compounds compared with minerals, scientists were pleased that so many organics survived the impact with the aerogel and the journey to Earth."
     KEYWORDS: 81P/Wild 2, Antarctica meteorites
  • "Meteorite Hunting in Antarctica," The JHU Gazette 22 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: ANSMET
  • Jan. 2007 edition of Distant EKOs, posted 22 Jan. - Note: Includes abstracts for papers on subjects such as "Densities of Solar System Objects from their Rotational Lightcurves," "Dynamical Classification of Trans-Neptunian Objects," and "New Definition of Discovery for Solar System Objects." Some of these papers are freely available to the public and others require purchase.

21
January
2007
Sunday
  • "New vision for Mauna Kea Science Reserve," Honolulu Advertiser 21 Jan. - Quote: "The new UH report does not spell out which facilities might someday be removed from Mauna Kea, but [candidates include] the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope, the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility." - Note: The newspaper has posted the university's PDF report here.
     KEYWORDS: CHFT, IRDF, Pan-STARRS, UKIRT

20
January
2007
Saturday
  • "The Great Cometary Show," ESO 20 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught), Cerro Paranal
  • "Meteorites from under the pyramids," Polish Press Agency 19 Jan. - Quote: "[The] scientists were intrigued by some unusual structures, which resembled craters [they noticed from] analysing satellite pictures of areas north of the great pyramids in Giza."
     KEYWORDS: Egypt

19
January
2007
Friday
  • "Encounters too close for comfort," New Zealand Herald 20 Jan. - Quote: "Last year, Siding Spring found 400 NEOs, or 60 per cent of all such objects discovered that year, plus Comet McNaught - the Great Comet of 2007."
     KEYWORDS: 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4), C/2006 P1 (McNaught), asteroid surveys
  • "Comet McNaught can be easily seen now," The Timaru Herald 19 Jan. - Quote: "A rare and spectacular visitor, comet McNaught was photographed by staff at the Mt John University Observatory."
    • "Comet mistaken for plane in fiery plunge," New Zealand Herald 19 Jan. - Quote: "The Fire Service and police around the country received calls last night from people mistaking Comet McNaught for an object falling from the sky."
    • SpaceWeather.com for 19 Jan. has more about C/McNaught's "Extravagant Tail" and how just the tail can still be seen from the northern hemipshere.
        KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Pluto-Bound Spacecraft to Nab Speed Boost in Jupiter Flyby," Space.com 18 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: New Horizons
  • "Dwarf planet 'becoming a comet'," BBC 17 Jan. - Quote: "Professor Mike Brown has calculated that the object could be due a close encounter with the planet Neptune [and so] in two million years, EL61 could well be a comet' [and] some of 2003 EL61's mantle may already have made it into the inner Solar System as cometary material."
    • "Pluto's Little Pals," MSNBC Cosmic Log 11 Jan. - Quote: "In, say, 2 billion years, EL61 'may well become a comet.'"
        KEYWORDS: 136108 2003 EL61, 2005 FY9, Eris, Sedna
Minor object science papers
  • "Models of the Collisional Damping Scenario for Ice Giant Planets and Kuiper Belt Formation" by Harold F. Levison & Alessandro Morbidelli, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 19 Jan.
  • "The Feasibility of Shading the Greenhouse with Dust Clouds at the Stable Lunar Lagrange Points" by Curtis Struck, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 17 Jan. - Quote: "Here it is pointed out that proposed technologies for near-Earth orbiting comet deflection, suggest a different kind of space-based solar shade."
  • "Lecture notes on the formation and early evolution of planetary systems" by Philip J. Armitage, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 16 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: planetary defense

18
January
2007
Thursday
  • "Brightest comet in a century astonishes Taranaki," Taranaki Daily News 18 Jan.
    • SpaceWeather.com on 18 Jan. shows that C/McNaught's "tail curves so much that it actually leads all the way back to the northern hemisphere where it can be seen glowing very faintly in the western sky after sundown."
        KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Zooming to Pluto, New Horizons Closes in on Jupiter," NASA 18 Jan. - Quote: "The fastest spacecraft ever launched [will be accelerated by Jupiter's gravity] away from the Sun ... hurling it toward a pass through the Pluto system in July 2015." - Note: See also accompanying graphics and news media kit (1.83Mb PDF).
     KEYWORDS: gravity assist
  • "UA shows science is cool on its varied sites on Net," Arizona Daily Star 18 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: Lunar & Planetary Lab, Steward Observatory
  • "UAF geologist studies Chicxulub impact crater," Univ. of Alaska 17 Jan. - Quote: "[Michael Whalen, who] became part of an international effort to correlate seismic data with information obtained from a drill hole that reaches more than 1.2 miles deep, through the impact layer and beyond ... will be traveling with a team to the Chicxulub site for a week to obtain more core samples."
     KEYWORDS: Mexico, Yucatan
Minor object science papers
  • "LSST: Comprehensive NEO Detection, Characterization, and Orbits" by Zeljko Ivezic et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 18 Jan. - Quote: "LSST using its baseline design cadence could find 90% of the PHAs with diameters larger than 250 m, and 75% of those greater than 140 m within ten years."
  • "Science Results Enabled by SDSS Astrometric Observations" by Zeljko Ivezic et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 17 Jan. - Quote: "These data were used to extend the measurement of asteroid size distribution to a smaller size limit, to demonstrate that asteroid dynamical families, defined as clusters in orbital parameter space, also strongly segregate in color space, and to discover a correlation between asteroid age and colors."
  • "Infrared Emission from the Dusty Disk Orbiting GD 362, An Externally-Polluted White Dwarf" by Michael Jura et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 16 Jan. - Quote: "[We] may be witnessing a system where an asteroidal-size body has been tidally destroyed. If so, determination of the photospheric metal abundances may measure the bulk composition of an extrasolar minor planet."
  • "The chemistry of multiply deuterated molecules in protoplanetary disks. I. The outer disk" by Karen Willacy, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 16 Jan. - Quote: "Consequently the D/H ratios observed in comets may be partly set in the parent cloud and partly in the disk, depending on the molecule."
  • "Forms and Rotational States of the Nuclei of Ecliptic Comets" by Colin Snodgrass, PhD thesis abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 12 Jan.
  • "The Spitzer Legacy Survey of the HST-ACS 2 sq. deg. COSMOS Field: survey strategy and first analysis" by D.B. Sanders et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 11 Jan. - Quote: "In addition, we report on the number of asteroid detections in the low galactic latitude COSMOS field."
  • "Modeling of the Terminal Velocities of the Dust Ejected Material by the Impact" by Miriam Rengel et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 3 Jan. - Quote: "We compute the distribution of velocities of the particles ejected by the impact of the projectile released from NASA Deep Impact spacecraft on the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel 1 [using] a set of observations taken by the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of OSIRIS onboard the Rosetta spacecraft."
     KEYWORDS: GD 362, asteroid surveys, Jupiter family comets

17
January
2007
Wednesday

16
January
2007
Tuesday
  • "Tails of the unexpected," Sydney Morning Herald 16 Jan. - Quote: "The sight of the brightest comet in Australia's skies for more than 40 years drew a mixture of amazement and disappointment from thousands of Sydneysiders who set their eyes on the western horizon at sunset last night."     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Artjarvi observatory gives unobstructed view of sky," Helsingin Sanomat 8 Jan. posted 16 Jan. - Quote: "[It] was only in this decade that enough money was raised... The European Union provided a grant [and the] remainder is divided between Ursa and the Municipality of Artjarvi. In return for the cooperation, Ursa has promised that Artjarvi ... will have an asteroid named after it."
     KEYWORDS: Finland, IAU namings
  • "Senne is as excited about astronomy as when he first fell in love with it in fifth grade," Rolla Daily News 15 Jan. - Quote: "The sizes and shapes of asteroids can be determined from timings of occultations of stars from two, or preferably several more, locations."
     KEYWORDS: IOTA, stellar occultations

15
January
2007
Monday
  • "Scientists probe space origin of rare black diamonds," The Register 15 Jan. - Quote: "Scientists have suggested that rare black 'carbonado' diamonds - found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic - may have arrived on Earth aboard a kilometre-wide asteroid ... billions of years ago when Africa and South America were still joined."
     KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry
  • "Cometary Catch," Space.com 15 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught), SOHO
  • "Asteroid hunting -- the ultimate sport," Tehachapi News 15 Jan. - Quote: "The Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society reports that member Loren Ball has single-handedly discovered 147 new asteroids as of September 2005."
     KEYWORDS: Spaceguard
  • "Amateur astronomers pursue next great discovery," AP at CNN 15 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: NVO, Stardust mission
  • "First Preparations for Mars Swing-by," ESA Rosetta mission status report 15 Jan. - Quote: "The reporting period [included] OSIRIS observations of asteroid Lutetia: the scientific data are being processed by the OSIRIS team... The navigation campaign will enter now its most dense phase with several tracking passes per week and DDOR [delta-differential one-way ranging] measurements, both with ESA and DSN stations."
     KEYWORDS: 21 Lutetia, Rosetta comet mission
  • "Japan recommends scrapping moon mission," AP at MSNBC 15 Jan. - Quote: "Also plagued with problems was JAXA's Hayabusa's mission to land on an asteroid, collect samples and bring them back to Earth. That probe has suffered a fuel leak and massive communication troubles."
     KEYWORDS: 25413 Itokawa

14
January
2007
Sunday

12
January
2007
Friday

11
January
2007
Thursday
  • "SOHO prepares for comet McNaught," ESA 11 Jan. - Quote: "Close to the Sun the ion and dust tails move apart, a phenomenon that is often difficult to observe from the Earth... [Comet McNaught's path] will carry it above the Sunís north pole and across the Sunís equator, a place where there is a reversal of the magnetic properties of the solar wind. Crossing this boundary could cause the cometís ion-tail to fragment. Observations of such events are generally very rare."
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "Asteroid tracker due for isles," Honolulu Star Bulletin 11 Jan. - Quote: "If Mauna Kea is chosen over Haleakala [Pan-STARRS] would replace the University of Hawaii's 88-inch telescope."
    • "Astronomers seek to win favor," The Honolulu Advertiser 11 Jan. - Quote: "Scientists believe they can complete a survey of the potential threats in 10 years if Pan-STARRS is built on Mauna Kea [but] will take more than 20 years if Pan-STARRS must be built ... on Maui's Haleakala."
    • Pan-STARRS Environmental Impact Statement (4.45Mb PDF) at the Pan-STARRS Web site.
        KEYWORDS: NEO surveys
  • "Jupiter Encounter Begins," NASA New Horizons mission 10 Jan. - Quote: "Closest approach to Jupiter comes Feb. 28."
     KEYWORDS: Pluto mission
  • "Google Partners With High-Tech Telescope to Map Universe," National Geographic 10 Jan. - Quote: "[The project] will in effect place a large, sophisticated telescope into the hands of anyone who wishes to use it for research, education, or other purposes."
     KEYWORDS: LSST

10
January
2007
Wednesday

9
January
2007
Tuesday

8
January
2007
Monday
  • "New comet will be bright ," Astronomy magazine 8 Jan.
    • "Comet McNaught Brightening," Sky & Telescope 8 Jan. - Quote: "In the Southern Hemisphere, the comet is below the horizon all night long, but this did not prevent Terry Lovejoy from locating and imaging it during broad daylight on January 7th." - Note: Don't try this by eye as you will be looking too near the Sun. This work was done by an experienced astrophotographer who composited 86 images to get this result.
    • Terry Lovejoy "Comet C/2006P1 (McNaught)" gallery including a daytime image from today.
    • "January's Surprise Comet," Sky & Telescope 4 Jan. - Quote: "Robert H. McNaught discovered this unexpected visitor last August 7th with the 20-inch Uppsala Schmidt telescope on Siding Spring Mountain in Australia."
        KEYWORDS: astrophotography
  • "Key to Planet Formation Found in Space Lint," Space.com 8 Jan.
    • "Dust around nearby star like powder snow," UC Berkeley 8 Jan. - Quote: "The thought is that these debris disks are in the cleanup phase, where all the small particles are colliding and being reduced to small dust grains and being blown away. So what is left in a few 100 million years is meter-sized objects and above."
        KEYWORDS: AU Microscopii planetary disk
  • "Use Google To Search The Heavens," Technovelgy 8 Jan. - Quote: "[The] LSST will cover the available sky every three nights over a period of ten years."
     KEYWORDS: NEO surveys
  • "Pluto's Demotion Tapped as 2006 Word of the Year," AP at Space.com 8 Jan. - Quote: "'Plutoed' was chosen 2006 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society... To 'pluto' is 'to demote or devalue someone or something.'"
     KEYWORDS: IAU planet definition
  • "TacSat-2 Provides Testbed for New Navigation Sensor," Space.com 8 Jan. - Quote: "[The Inertial Stellar Compass] is expected to aid the development of new classes of small spacecraft suitable for a diverse range of missions including comet and asteroid encounters and lunar landings."
     KEYWORDS: Wallops 2006 Dec. 16 Minotaur launch, spacecraft navigation
  • "Vt. Astronomical Society rebounds from break-in," Burlington Free Press 8 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: astronomy crime
  • "Astronomer Royal leading light campaign," The Herald 8 Jan. - Quote: "Professor John Brown wants the executive to bring Scotland into line with England and Wales by making light pollution a 'statutory nuisance'."
     KEYWORDS: dark skies
  • "Long shot for a deep impact," Sydney Morning Herald 6 Jan. - Quote: "[Gordon Garradd] said the high Torino rating reflected the fact that was little was known about XG1's orbit and as more was learned it would likely be downgraded."
     KEYWORDS: 2006 XG1
  • "Rocky Finding: Evidence of extrasolar asteroid belt," Science News 6 Jan. - Quote: "We now have direct evidence for structures around other stars that are directly analogous to the asteroid belt in our solar system."
     KEYWORDS: zeta Leporis planteary disk
  • "Meteor Showers in 2007," Sky & Telescope 4 Jan. - Quote: "The coming year looks to be a good one for meteor-watching because bright moonlight will not interfere with most of the better, more-dependable displays."
     KEYWORDS: Geminids, Leonids, Orionids, Perseids

7
January
2007
Sunday
  • "Comet McNaught," SpaceWeather.com image gallery 7 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)

6
January
2007
Saturday
  • "Report: Russian Specialists Study Rocket Debris Sighting Over U.S.," Interfax at Space.com 5 Jan. - Quote: "The media buzz surrounding the situation with the Soyuz-2 rocket is unjustified."
    • "ACC instructorís quest leads to rocket imagery," Arapahoe Community College at YourHub.com 5 Jan. - Quote: "[Andy] Caldwell's camera is one of 12 located on schools around Colorado that are designed to pick up meteors and fireballs... Students evaluate data every day and ... have also worked to plot the orbits of incoming meteoroids."
        KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 4 Colorado event, all-sky cameras
  • "Music of the spheres, with apologies to Pluto," Boston Globe 6 Jan. - Quote: "The British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage wrote 'Ceres: Asteroid for Orchestra' ... in part to fill out [a] recent recording of 'The Planets' for EMI Classics... [It] made for a fascinating and decidedly dark curtain-raiser." - Note: That album also includes "Pluto, the Renewer" and music for asteroids Komarov, Osiris, and Toutatis.
     KEYWORDS: 1 Ceres, IAU planet definition, minor object music
  • "Scientists Say NJ Object Is Meteorite," AP at CBS News 5 Jan. - Quote: "Rutgers University geologists [and] an independent metallurgist who studied the object, determined it was an iron meteorite because of its density, magnetic properties, markings and coloration."     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 2 New Jersey event

5
January
2007
Friday
  • "Students aim for the stars," Imperial College 5 Jan. - Quote: "A new competition launched this year will see students design a space settlement located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. "
     KEYWORDS: asteroid colonization
  • "New Horizons in 2007," NASA New Horizons mission 5 Jan. - Quote: "[The] Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter (VB-SDC) has been recording micrometeoroid impact data as the spacecraft traverses the asteroid belt to Jupiter... After our Jupiter encounter, we'll also begin preparing for spacecraft hibernation."
     KEYWORDS: Pluto mission
  • "Google joins effort to digitally film the entire universe," Seattle Post-Intelligencer at MSNBC 5 Jan. - Quote: "[The] new telescope could help answer some important scientific questions such as when the Earth might next get whacked by a killer asteroid."
    • "Google Joins Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project," Univ. of Arizona 5 Jan. - Quote: "Scheduled to begin operations in 2013 [the telescope] will open a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids as small as 100 meters, and distant Kuiper Belt Objects."
        KEYWORDS: NEO surveys
  • "Mysterious Space Object Crashes Into House," National Geographic 5 Jan. - Quote: "Other theories have suggested that the lump is a tool lost by an astronaut or flotsam from an orbiting satellite that melted as it entered Earth's atmosphere."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 2 New Jersey event
  • "Rocket lights up Wyo sky," Casper Tribune 5 Jan. - Quote: "[The] WYDOT Webcam on State Highway 28 at the Louis Lake turnoff near South Pass captured the image of an orange ball coming down in the area."
    • "Russian rocket dazzles Durangoís sky," Durango Herald 5 Jan. - Quote: "Steve Self ... saw the rocket debris rising from the horizon [and] rushed out into the snow to see it go across the sky... [As] the eight to 12 pieces ... began to fade [he] heard four thumps he took to be sonic booms."
    • "Basalt man witnesses fiery treat," Aspen Times 5 Jan.
    • "January 4, 2007 Fireball," Cloudbait Observatory 4 Jan. - Quote: "The [all-sky] cameras are designed to detect 'ordinary' meteors, which don't break up into debris streams in quite the way this object did." - Note: This page has been significantly updated since Jan. 4th.
    • "A great big ball of fire," Greeley Tribune 4 Jan. - Quote: "The footage was the first man-made debris captured by [Cloudbait's] camera system, in operation for five years... The debris was 37 miles above ground ... as it shot across the sky."
        KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 4 Colorado event, space debris
  • "Strange Sky Sightings In Kansas," WIBW-TV 4 Jan. - Quote: "The Nauerth family says they were near Paxico just before eleven Wednesday evening, when they looked up and saw green... And they aren't alone."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 3 Kansas event

4
January
2007
Thursday
  • "Bright New Comet Could Become Brilliant," Space.com 4 Jan. - Quote: "It's currently both a morning and evening object [and] beginning on Friday, Jan. 12 and continuing through Monday, Jan. 15, it will be passing through the field of view of [SOHO]." - Note #1 - Updated Jan. 10th with headline changed to "New Comet is Brightest in 30 Years." Note #2: See also SpaceWeather.com reports of 4-13 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
  • "SOFIA Update: Airborne Telescope Tests Continue," SETI Inst. at Space.com 4 Jan.
     KEYWORDS: airborne astronomy
  • "No space objects found in Wyo," Casper Tribune 4 Jan. - Quote: "[The] Wyoming Highway Patrol said a trooper found a 3- by 5-foot area burned in the snow about 35 feet from the edge of the highway, but found no object."     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 4 Colorado event, space debris
  • "What on Earth?" New York Daily News 4 Jan. - Quote: "Denton Ebel, curator of the meteorite collection at the American Museum of Natural History ... noted that its gold color 'does not look like a meteor,' which is normally gray." - Note: Reports variously put this event at 4pm, 4:30pm, and "night."     KEYWORDS: 2007 Jan. 2 New Jersey event
  • "Lunar Geminids," Science@NASA 3 Jan. - Quote: "Cooke's group has been monitoring the Moon's nightside ... since late 2005 and so far they've recorded 19 hits... Cooke plans to release data reduction software developed specifically for amateur and professional astronomers wishing to do this type of work... More data will help NASA assess the meteoroid threat as the agency prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon."
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts

3
January
2007
Wedneday

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