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

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Updated: 31 March 2007

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31
March
2007
Saturday
  • "Pet Shop Boys nearly went down in flames," UPI 31 March - Notes: First, no one observer, including an airline pilot, can correctly judge the proximity of a meteor, and observers routinely see such events as being much closer than they actually are. Determining the track of an object falling from space requires triangulation from multiple sources, preferably all-sky cameras, radar, satellites, or infrasound or seismic detectors. Second, the source for this story, the British tabloid The Sun, wasn't nearly so serious when it ran its version earlier today as "It's a singe for Pet Shop Boys" and included a cartoon entitled "Rocky horror" with a caption bubble to the effect that, "'That would have been our first hit in ages'." If you'd like to know more about the Pet Shop Boys, the New Zealand Herald reported today on their subsequent concert performance.
     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 28 New Zealand event
  • "Meteor shower over Auckland," tv3.co.nz 31 March - Quote: "A number of callers to police reported seeing colourful or white lights from the North Shore, Kohimarama and as far South as Kawakawa Bay at around five thirty."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 31 New Zealand event
  • "A ball of fire... what was that?" Delhi Times 31 March - Quote: "This was the question ten pilots flying over Delhi were asking ATC on the night of March 3. What was it: an extra-terrestrial object, a missile test or a natural phenomenon?"
     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 3 Gujarat event

30
March
2007
Friday
  • "UK impact crater debate heats up," BBC 30 March - Quote: "Two studies by Dr Stewart and Mr Allen, the latest of which mapped the structure in 3D, concluded that it was the result of a space impact... [John Underhill, however] has identified at least nine major bowl-shaped depressions, known as synclines, and over 15 subsidiary structures including Silverpit itself ... the result of movement of a thick layer of salt ... that lies below the whole area."
     KEYWORDS: impact theory
  • "New Green Comet Set for April Show," Space.com 30 March - Quote: "Comet Lovejoy will be progressing north during April and will soon become favorably placed for observation for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. [It] should continue to be an interesting object to follow with binoculars and small telescopes."
     KEYWORDS: C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy)
  • "Rosetta and New Horizons watch Jupiter in joint campaign," ESA 30 March
     KEYWORDS: New Horizons Pluto mission, Rosetta comet mission
  • "New Adaptive Optics Technique Demonstrated," ESO 30 March - Quote: "MAD [Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator] is an advanced generation adaptive optics system [that] can successfully correct a 1-2 arcmin FoV, much larger than the ~15 arcsec typically provided by the existing adaptive optics facilities."
     KEYWORDS: widefield astronomy
  • SpaceWeather.com for March 30th has imagery of 2006 VV2 on its way in to tonight's passage at 8.8 lunar distances. See also A/CC's March 26th special report and March 30th update on radar observations.
    • "A Big Chunk of Rock Passes Near Earth," Sky & Telescope 29 March - Quote: "At its closest approach, around 11 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on March 30th, [2006 VV2] will be just 2,100,000 miles (3,900,000 kilometers) over the heads of observers in Southern California. It's ... quite close in the sky to a nearly full Moon, which will make the observation more challenging. Even so, it should be readily visible in telescopes with at least 6 inches of aperture [and] you'll have an equally good opportunity the following night." - Note: Finder charts are provided.
        KEYWORDS: Earth's busy neighborhood

29
March
2007
Thursday
  • "Airliner's near-miss blamed on meteorite," New Zealand Herald 30 March - Quote: "The fragments thundered past the Lan Chile Airbus 340 ... about 10pm on Tuesday."     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 28 New Zealand event
  • "Amateur and Professional Astronomers Cooperate to Map Dancing Asteroid," Space. com 29 March
    • "The Impossible Siblings," ESO 29 March - Quote: "The adaptive optics observations could [not] resolve the shape of the individual components [so the] astronomers invited observers around the world to turn their eyes on the asteroid pair to measure the drops in brightness resulting from the predicted [eclipses and occultations]. Over the six-month period, amateurs and professionals from as far afield as Brazil, Chile, France, Reunion Island, South Africa, and the USA, observed repeated occultations as well as shadows passing over one of the pair. With this new data [the team found the two to be ellipsoids] almost similar in size: 93.0 x 87.0 x 83.6 km and 89.4 x 82.8 x 79.6 km."
    • "Binary asteroid revealed as twin rubble piles," Univ. of California at Berekeley 29 March - Quote: "'This is the first publication I've had in a professional journal...' said amateur astronomer Peter Dunckel... 'What is really a thrill is to have my little 7-inch telescope along with an 8-meter telescope on the same paper...' Dunckel observed the binary pair for 35 hours over a period of six weeks, recording Antiope's brightness every minute with a CCD camera attached to his Maksutov Newtonian reflector telescope."
        KEYWORDS: 90 Antiope, Themis
  • Worlds with Double Sunsets Common," Space.com 29 March - Quote: "The majority of stars like our Sun have at least one stellar companion. Astronomers have theorized that planets could form with little trouble in two-star systems, called binaries, despite the more complex gravitational tugging. The new study provides strong observational evidence to support that idea."
    • "NASA Telescope Finds Planets Thrive Around Stellar Twins," Univ. of Arizona & at the Spitzer Space Telescope Web site here 29 March - Quote: "[David] Trilling and his colleagues used Spitzer's infrared, heat-seeking eyes to look not for planets, but for dusty disks in double-star systems. These so-called debris disks are made up of asteroid-like bits of leftover rock that never made it into rocky planets. Their presence indicates that the process of building planets has occurred around a star, or stars... The data show that about 40 percent of the systems had disks, which is a bit higher than the frequency for a comparable sample of single stars... In addition, the astronomers were shocked to find that disks were even more frequent (about 60 percent) around the tightest binaries in the study... between zero and three astronomical units apart."
    • "Where Planets Take Up Residence," Spitzer Space Telescope 29 March - Quote: "The Spitzer data also revealed that debris disks circle all the way around both members of a close-knit binary, but only a single member of a wide duo."
    • "Solar System with Snug Suns," Spitzer Space Telescope 29 March - Quote: "Spitzer found more disks in orbit around close-knit binary stars than single stars. This could mean that planets prefer two parent stars to one [but, quoting from David Trilling in the main news release] 'it could also mean tight binaries are just dustier.'"
        KEYWORDS: circumstellar disks
  • "Tracking asteroids," El Defensor Chieftain 28 March - Quote: "[Eileen] Ryan said NASA needs more resources to fulfill Congress' directives to find 90 percent of asteroids 1 kilometer across, as well as smaller objects. The [2.4m] Magdalena Ridge Observatory [MRO] is the biggest telescope that could focus on the project, and it's already built."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, Lincoln Labs LINEAR
  • "3-D Medical Imaging Reaches the Stars," Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 27 March - Quote: "The software and techniques developed by the IIC will contribute to the revolutionary astronomy project known as the Virtual Observatory. The Virtual Observatory will link all the world's astronomy data together, giving people around the world easy access to data from many different telescopes and observatories, at all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum."
     KEYWORDS: AstroMed
  • "Earthquake Update from W.M. Keck Observatory," Keck Observatory 28 Feb. - Quote: "Both telescopes are now collecting science data, though at temporarily reduced slew speeds and some minor performance restrictions. The Observatory continues to evaluate the performance of both telescopes in comparison to pre-earthquake levels and original specifications."
     KEYWORDS: 2006 Oct. 15 Hawaiian earthquake

28
March
2007
Wednesday
  • "Astronomers fear interference from border measures," Arizona Republic 28 March - Quote: "Astronomers in southern Arizona [fear] that new radars, stadium-style lighting and radio repeaters may affect their telescopes... The barrier runs past three top observatories: Kitt Peak National Observatory near Sells, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory near Sonoita and Mexico's Guillermo Haro Observatory near Cananea, Sonora... [Radar on blimps] could interfere with radio telescopes at Kitt Peak [and] Mount Graham, and the Very Large Array in New Mexico."
     KEYWORDS: Spacewatch
  • "Giant telescope in Mexico a point of pride," Arizona Republic 28 March - Quote: "The Large Millimeter Telescope is the most ambitious scientific project Mexico has ever undertaken... Workers are putting the final touches on the telescope after nine years of construction atop the 15,030-foot Sierra Negra. Scientists are testing the instruments and controls and hope to begin research in 2008."
     KEYWORDS: LMT
  • "Chinese satellite to orbit Mars in 2009," China Daily 28 March - Quote: "[A] micro-satellite developed by China will be launched along with 'Phobos Explorer', the Russia spacecraft, atop a Russian rocket in 2009... The 'Phobos Explorer' spacecraft, with some equipment developed by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will land on the Martian moon [a suspected former asteroid] and return to Earth with soil samples."
     KEYWORDS: sample return missions
  • "Giant Meteorite Hit Ancient California, Crater Study Suggests," National Geographic 27 March - Quote: "The proposed impact crater, called the Victoria Island structure, is being added to a database of suspected impacts. It joins the 0.8-mile (1.3-kilometer) Cowell structure to the north as California's only potential impact craters."
     KEYWORDS: impact theory
Minor object science paper
  • "Spectropolarimetry of cool stars" by P. Petit, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 28 March - Quote: "The formation of solar-type stars comes along with the temporary formation of an accretion disc (the T Tauri phase)... The accretion process is influenced by the magnetic field of T Tauri stars."
     KEYWORDS: circumstellar disks

27
March
2007
Tuesday
  • "Meteorite expert to speak at Eureka College," Bloomington Pantagraph 27 March - Quote: "David and Dee Riddle of Bloomington had a metallic mass bust through a window. Originally identified as a meteorite, it has since been determined it is more likely a manmade object -- although still of mysterious origin."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 5 Illinois event
  • "Elusive oxygen molecule finally discovered in interstellar space by the Odin satellite," Swedish Space Corp. 27 March - Quote: "Molecular oxygen has now finally, for the first time, been detected ... found in a dense (astronomically speaking) gas cloud [but its] abundance is a thousand times lower than can be explained by today's chemical models. This discovery is important as it will lead to new insight into the complex development of interstellar clouds forming stars and planets."
     KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry
  • "Trip Report" (temp. URL), NASA New Horizons mission 26 March - Quote: "In an amazing stroke of luck, the NASA Deep Space Network and our control center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab were actually in contact with the spacecraft when this event occurred, so our ground team saw - in real-time - the double-bit error, the resulting C&DH [Command and Data Handling] computer reset, and the spacecraft commanding itself to 'Go Safe'... This was the first time New Horizons had commanded itself to Go Safe in flight."
     KEYWORDS: Pluto mission
  • "Pluto Occultation -- A First Report," Sky & Telescope 26 March
     KEYWORDS: stellar occultations

26
March
2007
Monday
  • "Asteroid Missions: Be Patient or Bring Lotsa Gas" by Tom Hill with a shorter version at The Space Review 26 March - Quote: "It turns out that two of the criteria used to argue for an asteroid mission: low propellant use and short timelines, are linked to each other through the mathematical dance of orbit mechanics and the rocket equation [but] the asteroids that have the potential for short, low fuel missions are extremely rare [and] the same attributes that make them good candidates for such a mission contribute to the rarity of such an opportunity."
     KEYWORDS: manned asteroid missions
  • "Jupiter Observations," ESA Rosetta mission status report 26 March - Quote: "The navigation campaign after the Mars swing-by is continuing with the preparation of the Deep Space Manoeuvre 3 planned for 26 April 2007."
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
  • You will be hearing a lot in the days ahead about the close passage at week's end of kilometer-size 2006 VV2. See A/CC's March 26th report here about the opportunities this presents for observations of all kinds, including numerous stellar occultations and a major radar campaign.
     KEYWORDS: photometry, planetary radar
  • Comet Lovejoy page, 25 March in New Zealand at Possum Observatory, which was first to confirm this object's discovery.
     KEYWORDS: C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy)
Minor object science papers
  • "Color Intensity Projections: A simple way to display changes in astronomical images" by Keith S. Cover, Frank J. Lagerwaard & Suresh Senan, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 26 March - Quote: "A novel display method, called arrival time color intensity projections (CIPs), is presented that combines any number of grayscale images into a single color image on a pixel by pixel basis... [Pixels] that change over the grayscale image have a color saturation that increases with the amount of change and a hue that corresponds to the timing of the changes. Thus objects moving in the grayscale images change from red to green to blue as they move across the color image. Consequently, moving objects are easier to detect and assess on the color image than on the grayscale images. A sequence of images of a comet plunging into the sun taken by the SOHO satellite (NASA/ESA) and Hubble Space Telescope images of a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) are used to demonstrate the method."
  • "Steady-state evolution of debris disks around A stars" by M.C. Wyatt, R. Smith & 5 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 26 March - Quote: "In this paper a simple analytical model for the steady-state evolution of debris disks due to collisions is confronted with Spitzer observations of main sequence A stars."
  • "Detection of [Ne II] Emission from Young Circumstellar Disks" by I. Pascucci, D. Hollenbach & 10 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 26 March - Quote: "We report the detection of [Ne II] emission at 12.81 micron in four out of the six optically thick dust disks observed as part of the FEPS Spitzer Legacy program."
     KEYWORDS: Spitzer Space Telescope

25
March
2007
Sunday
  • "Geologist says meteor's crater is hidden under Delta islands," The Record 25 March - Quote: "Geologist Bennett Spevack of San Diego works for a firm that was drilling in search of oil; while poring over data, he found a circular depression. His son, Samuel, a senior in high school, took on the mystery for a science fair project. The result: A co-authored study released earlier this month by the Lunar and Planetary Institute."     KEYWORDS: California Victoria Island, impact theory
  • "Deep space explorer facing the deep-six," Chicago Tribune 25 March - Quote: "'Closing it would be a major blow to scientists all over the world,' said Arecibo's site director Bob Kerr, who recently oversaw layoffs of 25 scientists and staffers in budget cuts."
     KEYWORDS: planetary radar
  • "It's a small world, after all," Savannah Morning News 25 March review of the book, "Is Pluto a Planet?"
     KEYWORDS: IAU planet definition

24
March
2007
Saturday
  • "Teens' far-out find," Sacramento Bee 24 March - Quote: "As of March 29, students in the campaign, which runs from full moon to full moon, had discovered 23 asteroids, said J. Patrick Miller, who heads up the International Asteroid Search Campaign [IASC]."
     KEYWORDS: 2007 CQ54, 2007 DU84, 2007 DW84, Astrometrica, Cordova High School
  • "Amateur Astronomer Discovers Comet with Digital SLR," Tony Hoffman at Gearlog 23 March - Quote: "Though this is the first comet to bear Lovejoy's name, it isn't his first discovery... In 1999, he was the first amateur to find a comet in online images ... soon after [SOHO] images became publicly available."
     KEYWORDS: C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy)

23
March
2007
Friday
  • "Group seeks to protect Earth from asteroids," Contra Costa Times 23 March - Quote: "On this date in 1989 a mountain-size asteroid named 4581 Asclepius passed ... directly through a spot [Earth] had occupied just six hours before." - Note: The Earth passes through its own diameter in just over seven minutes.
     KEYWORDS: B612 Foundation, planetary defense
  • "New Space Shield May Help Make Mars Mission Reality," National Geographic 23 March - Quote: "The radiation can be so energetic that it shatters the shielding atoms... a big problem in shielding made of normal spaceship construction materials, such as aluminum, whose atoms are relatively heavy and produce powerful shrapnel."
     KEYWORDS: deep space missions, hydrogen-enriched graphite nanofiber
  • David Dunham's Best Occultation of a Star by Pluto page continues to update with additional information and reports about last Sunday's event. Among other interesting reports linked there see Cloudbait Observatory's from March 20th.
     KEYWORDS: stellar occultations
  • April-June 2007 edition (2.01Mb PDF) of the Minor Planet Bulletin, ALPO Minor Planets section 19 March
     KEYWORDS: photometry
  • "A new triple asteroid discovered in the Main Belt," IMCCE/Franck Marchis 13 March - Quote: "45 Eugenia is the second triple asteroid discovered between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt." - Note: The first was 87 Sylvia. Out in the Kuiper Belt, 136108 2003 EL61 was first to be found to have more than one satellite, followed by Pluto.
     KEYWORDS: binaries, triples

22
March
2007
Thursday
  • "Moon monitor: Walker asked to become site for NASA station," Walker County Messenger 22 March - Quote: "What NASA gets is a second monitoring site, which can help NASA better determine whether flashes of light recorded by the telescopes are space materials striking the moons surface or the sun reflecting off debris passing between the two solar bodies."
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts
  • "UW geologist to discuss Rock Elm crater at WSU," Winona Daily News 22 March - Quote: "[William] Cordua eventually discovered that he was looking at the remnants of a crater that had once stretched four miles across."
     KEYWORDS: Wisconsin
  • "Nasa grounds its ideas factory," Mail & Guardian 22 March
    • "Futuristic NASA think tank to be shut down," New Scientist 20 March - Quote: "The institute ... receives about $4 million per year from NASA. Most of that is used to fund research into innovative technologies."
        KEYWORDS: NIAC
  • "Dueling over asteroids," MSNBC Cosmic Log 21 March - Quote: "[Donald] Yeomans said that, for now, the odds of collision [by 99942 Apophis in 2036] are still set at 1 in 45,000 - but that may change once additional analysis from the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy is added to the mix. Astronomer Dave Tholen is reportedly still working on the analysis, which should become available soon."
     KEYWORDS: planetary defense
Minor object science papers
  • "Dynamical modeling of the Deep Impact dust ejecta cloud " by Tanyu Bonev, Nancy Ageorges & 18 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 22 March
  • "The Dynamical Structure of the Kuiper Belt and its Primordial Origin" by A. Morbidelli, H.F. Levison & R. Gomes, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 22 March
     KEYWORDS: 9P/Tempel 1, Deep Impact comet mission

21
March
2007
Wednesday
  • "WIYN telescope to get innovative billion-pixel, $6.6 million camera," Indiana University 21 March - Quote: "The ODI [One Degree Imager] camera combined with the 3.5-meter telescope will provide stunning images with high scientific content. The ODI will also present interesting information technology challenges in handling, mining and archiving the images, because every night of observing with the ODI will produce a terabyte of data. The new ODI imager will be so perfectly matched to the capabilities of the WIYN telescope that the combination will occupy a special forefront niche in ground-based astronomy. It will not be surpassed by another facility until the planned, but not yet funded, 6.5-meter [LSST] comes on line sometime in the next decade... ODI will be able to take pictures of a big region of sky at one time, an area of sky more than four times the area of the full moon." - Note: See also WIYN Observatory.
     KEYWORDS: Kitt Peak

20
March
2007
Tuesday
  • The Best Occultation of a Star by Pluto page has been updated again today, March 20th, by David Dunham. It is reported about the occultation Sunday morning that "Several astronomers, amateur and professional, recorded the event from separate locations with a wide spread across the predicted path. The observations at Whipple Observatory in Arizona show that the occultation occurred 4.8 min. late, confirmed by Brian Warner at Palmer Divide Observatory; the path was probably a little north of the combined prediction." (A copy of a First Results Summary from Dunham from the 19th was posted by Derek Breit.)
     KEYWORDS: stellar occultations
  • "Scientists: Massive Meteorite Found Near Stockton," CBS 13 - Quote: "While looking for oil, scientists say they found space dust and possibly a mammoth meteorite ... in an area called Victoria Island ... buried nearly a mile beneath farmland [in a crater structure] estimated to be three miles wide."
     KEYWORDS: California
  • "OSIRIS camera on Rosetta obtains 'light curve' of asteroid Steins," ESA 20 March - Quote: "The observations show that Steins rotates with a spin period of slightly more than six hours [and suggest] an irregular shape... OSIRIS found no evidence for a 'tumbling' motion ... or the presence of a satellite."
     KEYWORDS: 2867 Steins, Rosetta comet mission
  • "NASA Asteroid Report: Sudden Impact," LiveScience.com blog 20 March - Quote: "'Outsiders' to the NASA study ... have been denied access to the larger, over 270-page 'limited edition' of the final report."
     KEYWORDS: planetary defense
  • "Making the solar system," Astronomy Magazine 19 March - Quote: "The oldest solid objects in the solar system -- inclusions found in some meteorites -- contained several short-lived radioactive nuclei ... and so must have been injected into the developing solar system at its beginning [from a nearby supernova]."
     KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry
  • "Hendricks Family Boosts Discovery Channel Telescope," Lowell Observatory 19 March - Quote: "This [$5 million] gift is in addition to their earlier $1 million contribution for the same purpose... [While] the Observatory remains open to the possibility of an additional university or observatory partner in the project, such a partner is no longer essential to completion of the telescope by 2010."
     KEYWORDS: DCT
Minor object science papers
  • "Efficient intra- and inter-night linking of asteroid detections using kd-trees" by Jeremy Kubica, Larry Denneau & 8 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 20 March - Quote: "[Pan-STARRS] is creating the first fully automated end-to-end Moving Object Processing System (MOPS)... Using a pseudo-realistic simulation ... we have achieved nearly 100% efficiency and accuracy for intra-night linking and nearly 100% efficiency for inter-night linking within a lunation... Successful tests of the MOPS on real source detections from the Spacewatch asteroid survey indicate that the MOPS is capable of identifying asteroids in real data."
  • "Detectability of Occultation of Stars by Objects in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud" by T.C. Nihei, M.J. Lehner & 3 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 20 March - Quote: "The serendipitous detection of stellar occultations by Outer Solar System objects is a powerful method for ascertaining the small end ... of the size distribution of Kuiper Belt Objects and may potentially allow the exploration of objects as far out as the Oort Cloud."
  • "The internal structure of the asteroids" by V. Celebonovic, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 20 March
  • "An Improved Photometric Calibration of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Imaging Data" by N. Padmanabhan, D.J. Schlegel & 22 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 20 March
  • "Further Indications Against Jet Rotation in Young Stellar Objects" by Noam Soker, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 20 March
  • "The QUEST Data Processing Software Pipeline" by Peter Andrews, Charles Baltay & 6 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 19 March - Quote: "[The] QUEST Data Processing Software Pipeline has been written to process the large volumes of data produced by the QUEST camera on the Samuel Oschin Schmidt Telescope at the Palomar Observatory. The program carries out both aperture and PSF photometry, combines data from different repeated observations of the same portion of sky, and produces a Master Object Catalog."
  • "The Sun-like activity of the solar twin 18 Scorpii" by Jeffrey C. Hall, Gregory W. Henry & G. Wesley Lockwood, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 19 March
     KEYWORDS: circumstellar disks, T Tauri stars

19
March
2007
Monday

17
March
2007
Saturday
  • "New Comet in Indus," Sky & Telescope AstroAlert 17 March - Quote: "It appears to be the first case of a comet discovered in a systematic survey with an off-the-shelf digital camera: a Canon 350D with a zoom lens set to 200-mm focal length at f/2.8. [Terry Lovejoy] spotted the object ... in 16 exposures of 90 seconds each." - Note: See also SpaceWeather.com for 17 March.
     KEYWORDS: C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy)
  • "Goodness gracious! A ball of fire," The Globe and Mail 17 March - Quote: "[It's] estimated Sunday's meteor was sized somewhere between a toaster and a golf ball."
    • "The all-sky camera doesn't quite see all," The Globe and Mail 17 March - Quote: "Between 8 and 8:30 Sunday evening, there was, in Prof. [Peter] Brown's words, 'too much twilight' for the radar or the cameras to detect it. The microphones, another part of this multi-instrumental system, also happened to be down that night."
        KEYWORDS: 2007 March 11 north-central North America event
  • "Pluto's Shadow to Sweep Over North America," Sky & Telescope 16 March - Quote: "This event puts some of astronomers' most powerful telescopes -- among them Palomar Observatory in California, Kitt Peak in Arizona, and McDonald in Texas -- in Pluto's shadow."     KEYWORDS: stellar occultation
  • "Grazing asteroid impact may be behind two faces of Mars," Daily India 16 March - Quote: "[The] higher and heavily cratered southern hemisphere and a relatively flatter northern hemisphere, which is about five kilometres lower in elevation than the southern part, may be due to the impact of a giant asteroid."
     KEYWORDS: Mars impact history
  • "Final frontier on NI curriculum," BBC 16 March - Quote: "Last year, two 14-year-olds who used the telescope to image an asteroid had their findings published in the Bulletin of the Minor Planets Centre."
     KEYWORDS: Faulkes Telescope Project
  • "Orbital Outposts: A Better Bet than a Moonbase?" NSS Ad Astra at Space.com 16 March - Quote: "Orbital settlements are hollow: you live on the inside. The single largest asteroid, Ceres, provides enough materials to build orbital space colonies with 1g living area equal to at least a hundred times the surface area of Earth."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid colonization
  • "1957 meteor screams through sky as 'a big burst of daylight'," The Adveriser 16 March - Quote: "Some people thought it was the end of the world when the giant flash of light swept across Acadiana in March 1957."
     KEYWORDS: 1957 March Louisiana event

16
March
2007
Friday
  • "Shooting Marbles at 16,000 mph," Science@NASA 14 March - Quote: "So you might dodge a bullet [a meteor hitting the Moon] but still get caught by its shrapnel. And the question is, Are you more likely to get cut off at the ankles by debris spattered along the horizon, or hit from above by material on high, ballistic trajectories?"
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts
Minor object science paper
  • "Extra-Solar Kuiper Belt Dust Disks" by Amaya Moro-Martin, Mark C. Wyatt & 2 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 16 March - Quote: "The dust disks observed around mature stars are evidence that plantesimals are present in these systems on spatial scales that are similar to that of the asteroids and the KBOs in the Solar System... "
     KEYWORDS: circumstellar disks

15
March
2007
Thursday
  • "A Comet Caught by Its Trail" by Mike Holloway at Sky & Telescope 15 March - Quote: "'This means that there is promise for doing more of this type of observation using small telescopes,' [William T.] Reach continued, because it's the kind of work that isn't done very often by professional astronomers using larger instruments."
     KEYWORDS: 2P/Encke, dust trails
  • "Family sees meteorite hit ground," York Region 15 March - Quote: "What Richard Yip-Chuck saw fall into a farmer's field [west of Lindsay, northeast of Toronto] Sunday evening looked like a long, white ball with orange sparks shooting off the back." - Note: Fireball remnants that survive atmospheric entry have cooled and are no longer bright by the time they reach the Earth's surface. Best guesses so far from the experts are that any remants from this event fell somewhere in Michigan or into Lake Erie.
     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 11 north-central North America event
  • March 2007 edition of Distant EKOs posted 15 March - Note: Briefly mentions nine KBOs found to be binary and gives abstracts or info for scientific papers on topics such as "Transneptunian Object 2003 UB313 as a Source of Comets" and "Extra-Solar Kuiper Belt Dust Disks." One on "The Search for Distant Objects in the Solar System using Spacewatch" reports that "We found no large objects at low inclinations despite having sufficient sensitivity in both flux and rate to see them out as far as 1200 AU. For low inclinations, we can rule out more than one to two Pluto-sized objects out to 100 AU and one to two Mars-sized objects to 200 AU." Links are given for some of these papers making them available to the public.
     KEYWORDS: 136199 Eris (2003 UB313), circumstellar disks
  • "Far-Flung Space Crash May Help Solve Mystery of Moon's Formation," National Geographic 15 March - Quote: "These objects give scientists a chance to see what might be inside Pluto and other large Kuiper belt objects."
    • "Icy Disaster in the Kuiper Belt," Science Magazine 14 March - Quote: "A rogue ball of ice as big as Pennsylvania smashes into an Alaska-sized dwarf planet, spewing debris across the solar system and furnishing the planet with two new moons."
        KEYWORDS: 136108 2003 EL61
  • "All Eyes on Pluto Sunday," Space.com 15 March - Quote: "Occultations occur about once every 5 to 10 years for Pluto, but ... now that Pluto has moved between Earth and the central region of the Milky Way ... Pluto is expected to experience one or two occultations each year."
     KEYWORDS: stellar occultations
  • "Profs Link Light to Asteroid Rotation Speed," The Cornell Sun 15 March - Quote: "Neither of the two teams, however, initially intended to prove the long theorized YORP Effect. It was not until two to three years into their research that it became apparent that the orbit of the asteroid was inexplicably changing."
     KEYWORDS: 54509 2000 PH5, Yarkovsky effect
  • "NASA Explodes Marbles for Safety's Sake," Space.com 14 March
     KEYWORDS: lunar impacts
  • "Astronomers Seek Ways to Divert 'Killer Asteroids' that Could Threaten Earth," VOA 14 March - 14 March - Quote: "NASA has identified about 130 asteroids that might hit the Earth. But [Steven] Chesley says there are an estimated 20,000 yet to be discovered."
     KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, planetary defense
  • "Asteroid mission concept unveiled," BBC 14 March - Quote: "Factors preventing manned exploration might include a jagged surface, a rapid spin rate, and debris surrounding the asteroid; those which turned out to be binary objects, where two bodies orbit each other, could also be excluded."
     KEYWORDS: Orion CEV
Minor object science paper
  • "Binaries in the Kuiper Belt" by Keith S. Noll, et al. revised 14 March, see below.

14
March
2007
Wednesday
  • "Arizona Telescopes Focus On Pluto Early March 18," Univ. of Arizona 14 March - Quote: "Telescopes from Wyoming to Mexico City and from California to central Texas will point at Pluto as the dwarf planet occults a star in the Sagittarius constellation next Sunday... The occultation will last six minutes -- about 3 times longer than typical Pluto occultations -- giving telescopes as small as 50 centimeters (20 inches) time to record the event." - Note: Details for observers can be found at David Dunham's Web site here and, with illustrations, on Bruno Sicardy's Web site here.
     KEYWORDS: New Horizons mission
  • "Giant Remnants of Cosmic Collision Found Beyond Neptune," Space.com 14 March - Quote: "[Alessandro] Morbidelli said the discovery provides a physical model for astronomers to test their theories about the kinds of large-scale collisions thought to be behind the birth of our Moon and the Pluto-Charon system" - Note: See more about this subject at Mike Brown's 2003 EL61 page and in news links from Jan. 19th.
     KEYWORDS: 136108 2003 EL61
  • "First Jupiter Observations," ESA Rosetta mission status report 14 March - Quote: "The Mars swing-by phase will be formally completed with the Deep Space Manoeuvre 3 to be executed on 26 April 2007 and the orbit determination following it. The spacecraft timeline is now characterised by ALICE observations of Jupiter and by a ROSINA commissioning activity planned for week 12."
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
Minor object science papers
  • "Spectropolarimetry of the Deep Impact target comet 9P/Tempel 1 with HiVIS" by D.M. Harrington, K. Meech & 3 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 14 March - Quote: "Spectropolarimetry of the Deep Impact target, comet 9P/ Tempel 1, was performed during the impact event on July 4th, 2005 with the HiVIS Spectropolarimeter and the AEOS 3.67m telescope on Haleakala, Maui. We observed atypical polarization spectra that changed significantly in the few hours after the impact."
  • "Statistical analysis of molecular line emission from T Tauri disk models" by Itziar de Gregorio-Monsalvo, Paola D'Alessio & Jose F. Gomez, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 14 March - Quote: "Our aim is to determine the kind of observations that will allow us to extract information about the physical parameters of disks... We also present prospects for future molecular line observations of protoplanetary disks using SMA and ALMA."
     KEYWORDS: circumstellar disks, Deep Impact mission, infrared astronomy

13
March
2007
Tuesday
  • Site news: Five years ago today A/CC began daily reporting of minor object news on the Web.

  • "Martians, UFOs ruled out, meteor strongly favoured," The Waterloo Record 13 March - Quote: "Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario's astronomy department said if any parts of it came to Earth, it would likely have landed somewhere in Michigan."
    • "Ball of fury sets the night on fire," Toronto Star 13 March - Quote: "What's certain is that for three or four spine-tingling seconds, people from a massive swath of the continent shared the same slice of burning sky. And everyone imagined that whatever it was had landed in their own backyards."
    • "Looking up at sky, locals can’t believe their eyes,"
    • In A/CC's coverage yesterday of this event, one eyewitness mentioned that he thought he "heard something when [the fireball] disappeared." Chris Peterson of Cloudbait Observatory, who is in charge of collecting Colorado fireball reports, tells A/CC today that "I've gotten a number of witness reports submitted about this event. One from just north of Detroit reported classic electrophonic noise." He also notes that "The meteor was traveling approximately north to south, but the witnesses stretch mainly west to east, over about 650 miles (Skokie to Utica)." For more about "electrophonic noise," see that Cloudbait link, an essay on the topic, and the Global Electrophonic Fireball Survey (GEFS) Web site.
        KEYWORDS: 2007 March 11 north-central North America event
  • "When the Sky Falls, Where Will NASA Be?" Scientific American editorial 13 March - Quote: "It seems that NASA has passed the buck it claims it doesn't have to other space agencies, institutions and facilities [and] will have to rely on the kindness of others to do even the preliminary work to meet the goals called for by Congress in NASA's 2005 authorization bill."
    • "Bloomfield man talks about comets," Greenfield County Daily World 13 March - Quote: "Long period comets represent one of the most difficult threats due to their massive size (many are over 100 kilometers across), their great speed (in the order of 110,000 mph), and because they can appear with minimal warning time (engagement time measured in months)."
        KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, planetary defense
  • The IAU/USGS Planetary Nomenclature site today announced two new maps of asteroid-like Phobos, satellite of Mars, in cylindrical projection (393K PDF) and hemispherical views (517K PDF).
     KEYWORDS: IAU surface namings
Minor object science paper
  • "A fully 3-dimensional thermal model of a comet nucleus" by E.D.Rosenberg & D.Prialnik, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 13 March - Quote: "A 3-D numerical model of comet nuclei is presented [and] applied to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko."
     KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission

12
March
2007
Monday
  • "Meteor likely cause of night light show," Kalamazoo Gazette 12 March - Quote: "A dispatcher in Allegan said calls 'from all over' began coming in at about 8 p.m., while a counterpart in Kalamazoo said about 'half a dozen' calls came into the county dispatch center."
    • "Eyewitnesses across West Michigan see fireball in the sky," WWMT-TV 11-12 March - Note: See video and eyewitness accounts.
    • "Up in the sky: a bird? a plane? a meteor?" WOOD-TV 12 March
    • "Witness: 'Mammoth fireball' about 300 feet in diameter," Utica Observer-Dispath 12 March
    • "UFO prompts flurry of calls to police," The Waterloo Record 12 March - Quote: "Whatever it was, residents across Waterloo Region saw something unusual in the night's sky yesterday."
    • "Possible meteoroid sighting lights up police switchboards," The Toronto Star 11 March - Quote: "Police switchboards in Toronto, York and Durham Regions reported receiving several calls from people who had observed a fireball in the night sky between 8 and 8:30 p.m."
    • A/CC received these reports directly today:
      From Kathleen Fix in Willoughby, Ohio:
      Last evening, at 19:59 local time, I happened to look out my living room window (which faces northward) when I spotted a strange object. I live near a local airport so I hear and see small planes regularly. It was round and yellow to orange, moving east to west across the sky and looked to be over Lake Erie. It had a relatively short tail and spit a couple of chunks off as I watched it. Total sight time was probably only a second or so as I am limited by buildings and trees.
      From Ian McEachern in Sarnia, Ontario:
      I seen the meteor sighting last night while driving. It was approxiamately 7:55 pm daylight EST, I was driving southbound and spotted a bright flash above me for a few seconds. It was shooting right to left as facing south. It had a huge streaking tail; small ball like star in front. It startled me as my view was limited from the roof but it was moving into my view. It was very bright red and orange. The sky was still bright at that time. I first had thought a tranformer or something electrical had exploded and was falling on my car or someone was shooting fireworks... I also thought I heard something when it disappeared.
    KEYWORDS: 2007 March 11 north-central North America event
  • "Research team seeks organist," UPI 12 March - Quote: "The team ... plan to deliver a pedal organ to the isolated Ojaki community as a means of persuading the natives to help them reach a remote site where a meteorite landed."
    • "Kota Mama IV," Scientific Exploration Soc. - Quote: "Deep in the Bolivian Amazon is an 8 km wide crater. The Iturralde Structure, as it is known, is possibly the site of the Earth’s most recent 'big' meteorite impact."
        KEYWORDS: Earth impact history
  • "LBT Captures Extremely Faint Light With Its First Mirror and Camera," Univ. of Arizona 12 March - Quote: "The Large Binocular Telescope ... achieved first light with the first of its two 8.4-meter (27.6 feet) primary mirrors on Oct. 12, 2005. It will see "first binocular light" -- light from both huge mirrors on a single mount -- later this year."
     KEYWORDS: Mt. Graham
  • "New research tool indicates those countries most at risk of 'small' asteroid impact," Univ. of Southampton 9 March - Quote: "Our results highlight those countries that face the greatest risk from this most global of natural hazards and thus indicate which nations need to be involved in mitigating the threat."
     KEYWORDS:
    Minor object science papers
    • "3.2 mm lightcurve observations of (4) Vesta and (9) Metis with the Australia Telescope Compact Array" by T.G. Muller & P.J. Barnes, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 12 March - Quote: "(4) Vesta and (9) Metis are large main-belt asteroids with high albedos. With millimetre-observations at 93.0 and 95.5 GHz we characterised the emission properties of the surface material... The 3-mm observations are very powerful for the study of asteroid surface heterogeneities."
    • "Two different evolutionary types of comets proved by polarimetric and infrared properties of their dust" by L. Kolokolova, H. Kimura & 2 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 12 March - Quote: "Comets can be divided into two groups: type I, characterized by high gas/dust ratio, low polarization, and a weak or absent 10 micron silicate feature, and type II, for which a low gas/dust ratio, high polarization, and strong silicate feature are typical... We have found that the strength of the silicate feature correlates with the semi-major axis of periodic comets and, for short-period comets, with the perihelion distance."
    • "Circular polarization in comets: Observations of Comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) and tentative interpretation" by Vera Rosenbush, Ludmilla Kolokolova & 3 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 12 March - Quote: "Correlation between the degree of circular polarization, visual magnitude, water production rate, and linear polarization of Comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) during its final fragmentation in July 2000 was found. The mechanisms that may produce circular polarization in comets and specifically in Comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) are discussed and some tentative interpretation is presented."
       KEYWORDS: infrared astronomy

  • 11
    March
    2007
    Sunday

    10
    March
    2007
    Saturday
    • "Sorry Bruce, but that is not how to save the planet," The Age 11 March
      • "NASA Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives Report to Congress," NASA report summary at SpaceRef.com 9 March - Quote: "30-80 percent of potentially hazardous NEOs are in orbits that are beyond the capability of current or planned launch systems. Therefore, planetary gravity assist swingby trajectories or on-orbit assembly of modular propulsion systems may be needed to augment launch vehicle performance, if these objects need to be deflected." - Note: The full report is a 771Kb PDF available from NASA.
      • "NASA ARC NEO News (03/07/07) Planetary Defense Conference," SpaceRef.com 9 March - Quote: "[Steve] Chesley pointed out in particular that the calculated probability of impact for a NEA that is coming close to the Earth is likely to rise initially with the addition of new data, before it falls rather suddenly to zero."
      • "NASA ARC NEO News (03/09/07) Planetary Defense Conference Part 2," SpaceRef.com 9 March - Quotes: "Mark Boslough ... concludes that the Tunguska impactor exploded higher and was smaller (energy of order 5 megatons) than usually inferred... We [the NEO community] have thought about response to an impact warning, but not much to the consequences of an impact without warning, which remains the most likely (at least until completion of the next generation survey)... Japan and the European Space Agency have scientific missions planned to NEAs, but the United States is the only country contributing to the Spaceguard Survey or the Arecibo Radar."
          KEYWORDS: hazard mitigation
    • "Object that hit home not likely a meteorite," Bloomington Pantagraph 9 March
       KEYWORDS: 2007 March 5 Illinois event

    9
    March
    2007
    Friday
    • "Illinois meteorite strike in doubt," Astronomy Magazine 9 March - Quote: "The alleged 'meteorite' that smashed through a window Monday ... may be a chunk of ordinary steel plate spit out of an industrial wood-chipper about 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the Riddle home."
       KEYWORDS: 2007 March 5 Illinois event
    • "Proposed Mission Will Return Sample from Near-Earth Object," NASA/GSFC 9 March - Quote: "The Stardust mission returned samples of comet Wild 2 with a total weight of just a tenth of a milligram, but it is enough to be analyzed by researchers all over the world... OSIRIS will return 150 grams -- about five ounces. We'll take it apart almost atom by atom. It will keep a lot of people busy for a long time."
       KEYWORDS: 10195 1999 RQ36
    • "Light Gives Asteroids Spin," Max Planck Soc. 9 March.
       KEYWORDS: 54509 2000 PH5, Yarkovsky YORP effect
    • "Planet-destroying asteroids not on the way," Washington Post at Concord Monitor 9 March - Quote: "The risk that an asteroid capable of wiping out humanity will crash into Earth is minuscule, new calculations suggest, but the chances of a smaller one destroying a city or setting off a catastrophic tsunami remain unclear and may be higher than previous estimates." Note: The same story is also here at MSNBC on 9 March.
      • "Bullets from Outer Space," Harvard Crimson op-ed piece 9 March - Quote: "In the past decade, 20 professional and 100 amateur astronomers across the globe, led by the Garden Street-based MPC, have identified three-quarters of asteroids at least one kilometer across, and all on a budget of a not-so-gargantuan $4 million per year."
      • "Defending the Planet," Planetary Soc. 9 March - Quote: "Astronaut Tom Jones ... in his NASA role as Deputy Constellation Project Scientist [and others] are championing a human mission to a NEO."
      • "'Killer Asteroid' Debate Pits Gravity Tractors Against Bombs, Projectiles," National Geographic 8 March - Quote: "Earth dominates its orbit. For several thousand objects, Earth is a major pothole in their paths."
          KEYWORDS: planetary defense

    8
    March
    2007
    Thursday
    • "Questioning Dwarfs," NASA Astrobiology Magazine 8 March - Quote: "[From] our viewpoint Pluto’s background is the middle of the Milky Way galaxy -- the line of sight where Kuiper Belt objects are hard to find. So we currently don’t know of any Kuiper Belt objects that are right on the path [of the New Horizons spacecraft]."
       KEYWORDS: 136199 Eris (2003 UB313), IAU planet definition
    • "New Mexico Legislature: Declaring Pluto a Planet and March 13, 2007 as Pluto Planet Day," SpaceRef.com 8 March - Notes: Contrary to reports elsewhere, this bill remains tabled as of March 11th and has not been passed by the state legislature. See also a March 9th item at Space.com.
       KEYWORDS: Clyde Tombaugh, IAU planet definition
    • "TV show has eye on rock crash," Peoria Journal Star 8 March
       KEYWORDS: 2007 March 5 Illinois event
    • "Blinded by the light," The Prague Post 8 March - Quote: "[The] Czech Republic made headlines around the world when it passed the first national law against light pollution... Nearly five years later, it’s clear that initiative failed."
       KEYWORDS: dark skies, Ondrejov observatory
    • "When washed in sunlight, asteroids hit the spin cycle," Cornell Univ. at EurekAlert 7 March - Note: Of 1,257 asteroids currently classified as "small," the only one that is numbered, 54509 2000 PH5, is central to this news story that broke yesterday.
       KEYWORDS: Yarkovsky YORP effect
    Minor object science papers
    • "Binaries in the Kuiper Belt" by Keith S. Noll, William M. Grundy & 3 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 8 March revised 14 March - Quote: "Because of the several channels for obtaining unique physical information, it is already clear that binaries will emerge as one of the most useful tools for unraveling the many complexities of transneptunian space."
    • "Discovery of a Very Bright, Nearby Gravitational Microlensing Event" by B. Scott Gaudi, Joseph Patterson & 19 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 8 March - Quote: [To watch for more such events, it] would be straightforward to place 120 10 cm lenses, each backed by a 20 megapixel camera with 7 arcsec pixels, on one single-axis mount... Such 'fly's eye' telescopes would have a very large number of other applications, including ... several days advance warning for Tunguska-size meteors that are expected to hit the Earth of order once per century with 10 megaton impacts."
    • "Cavity opening by a giant planet in a protoplanetary disc and effects on planetary migration" by A. Crida & A. Morbidelli et al., abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 8 March
    • "Inverse problems of NEO photometry: Imaging the NEO population" by Mikko Kaasalainen & Josef Durech et al., PDF at Kaasalainen's asteroid models page Jan. 2007 - Quote: "[A] real paradigm change will be brought about by surveys such as Pan-STARRS and LSST that will produce colossal photometric databases that, though sparse in time, can readily be used for obtaining the physical characteristics of asteroids everywhere."
       KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, circumstellar disks

    7
    March
    2007
    Wednesday
    • "The Planetary Society Awards Asteroid Trackers," Planetary Soc. 7 March - Quote: "The 2007 [Gene Shoemaker NEO Grant] recipients are Robert E. Holmes, Jr, Donald P. Pray, and Brian D. Warner of the USA; Jean-Claude Pelle of French Polynesia; Quanzhi Ye of China; Eric J. Allen of Canada; and Giovanni Sostero of Italy. The Society received 23 proposals from 11 countries."
       KEYWORDS: LUSS
    • "Asteroids Spin Faster Due to Solar Power, Studies Show," National Geographic 7 March
      • "Light puts asteroids into a spin," BBC 7 March - Quote: "We now know the Solar System doesn't just evolve due to gravitation."
      • "Sunlight Increases Space Rock Spin," Space.com 7 March - Quote: "1862 Apollo received enough of a push from sunlight over the last 40 years that it now performs one additional spin ... per orbit around the Sun."
      • "Solar Power at Play," ESO 7 March - Quote: "Astronomers believe the YORP effect may be responsible for spinning some asteroids up so fast that they break apart... Others may be slowed down... The YORP effect also plays an important role in changing the orbits of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, including their delivery to planet-crossing orbits... Despite its importance, the effect has never been seen acting on a solar system body, until now. Using extensive optical and radar imaging from powerful Earth-based observatories, astronomers have directly observed the YORP effect in action on a small near-Earth asteroid, known as (54509) 2000 PH5."
      • "Asteroids spin at YORP speed, thanks to the effects of sunlight," Cornell Univ. Chronicle 7 March - Quote: "[Two] forces influence the object: one from the impact of the photons, providing a tiny push, and the other as a recoil effect when the object emits the absorbed energy."
      • "Scientists find a solar-powered asteroid," Academy of Finland 7 March, also here at EurekAlert 7 March - Quote: "1862 Apollo's diameter is about 1.5 km, it has a small moonlet, and its orbit crosses that of the Earth. The team ... found that Apollo's rotation speed steadily increases, and showed that this is due to the re-radiation of solar energy from its surface."
          KEYWORDS: Yarkovsky effect
    • "A jet of molecular hydrogen arising from a forming high-mass star," Astronomy & Astrophysics 7 March - Quote: "The ejection of material through a jet or an outflow is always linked to accretion of gas and dust, either onto the circumstellar disk or onto the central protostar."
       KEYWORDS: Omega Nebula M17
    • "Family gets back to normal after 'close encounter'," Bloomington Pantagraph 6 March - Quote: "Whether the object is a meteorite is still undetermined."
       KEYWORDS: 2007 March 5 Illinois event
    • "Steve Arnold shows off rare space rocks," Arizona Range News 6 March - Quote: "In October 2005, Arnold made one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of all time on a Kansas wheat field."
       KEYWORDS:
    Minor object science papers
    • "The water ice rich surface of (145453) 2005 RR43: a case for a population of trans-neptunian objects?" by N. Pinilla-Alonso, J. Licandro & 2 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 7 March - Quote: "A carbon depleted population of TNOs could be the origin of the population of carbon depleted Jupiter family comets already noticed by A'Hearn et al."
    • "The Chamomile Scheme: An Optimized Algorithm for N-body simulations on Programmable Graphics Processing Units" by Tsuyoshi Hamada & Toshiaki Iitaka, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 7 March - Quote: "The scheme is fully optimized for calculating gravitational interactions on the latest programmable [GPU], NVIDIA GeForce8800GTX."
    • "Spitzer Limits On Dust Emission and Optical Gas Absorption Variability Around Nearby Stars with Edge-On Circumstellar Disk Signatures" by Seth Redfield, Jacqueline E. Kessler-Silacci & Lucas A. Cieza, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 7 March
    • "Discovery of a Bipolar Outflow from 2MASSW J1207334-393254, A 24 Jupiter Mass Brown Dwarf" by E.T. Whelan, T.P. Ray & 6 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 7 March - Quote: "2MASS1207-3932 has for some time been known to show clear signs of classical T Tauri-like accretion... [Observations] are consistent with [it] having a near edge-on disk... the smallest mass galactic object known to drive an outflow."
       KEYWORDS: alpha Oph, beta Car, HD85905, HR10, LISM

    6
    March
    2007
    Tuesday
    • "Space object crashes into house," Peoria Journal Star 6 March - Quote: "Riddle and her eight day-care children left for about an hour while officials checked the rock for radioactive materials."     KEYWORDS: 1938 Illinois event, 2007 March 5 Illinois event
    • "India 'fireball' mystery," Khaleej Times 6 March
       KEYWORDS: 2007 March 3 Gujarat event
    • "NASA can't afford asteroid hunt," AP at USA Today 5 March and 125-plus other news media sites 5-6 March - Quote: "The cost to find at least 90% of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion."
       KEYWORDS: asteroid surveys, planetary defense
    Minor object science papers
    • "Comparing the NEATM with a Rotating, Cratered Thermophysical Asteroid Model" by Edward L. Wright, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 6 March - Quote: "In this paper a rotating, cratered asteroid model is described, and used to generate infrared fluxes which are then interpreted using the Near Earth Asteroid Thermal Model (NEATM) [which can be used to obtain] diameter estimates that are accurate to 10 percent RMS for phase angles less than 60 degrees."
    • "Irregular Satellites of the Planets: Products of Capture in the Early Solar System" by David Jewitt & Nader Haghighipour, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 6 March - Quote: "Whereas the regular satellites grew by accretion within circumplanetary disks the irregular satellites were captured from initially heliocentric orbits at an early epoch."
    • "The impact of the Kuiper Belt Objects and of the asteroid ring on future high-precision relativistic Solar System tests" by Lorenzo Iorio, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 6 March
       KEYWORDS: infrared astronomy

    5
    March
    2007
    Monday
    • "Sun's Baby Twin Spotted," Space.com 5 March - Quote: "The four proto-stars that we have identified on the edges of the pillars are probably the youngest stars ever imaged by astronomers." Note: See Feb. 16th news for more info and images.
       KEYWORDS: E42, Chandra, HST, Solar System analogs
    • "Dawn Journal" for 19 Feb. at NASA Dawn mission - Quote: "On February 14, Dawn's ion propulsion system was powered on for its long-awaited 'hot fire test.'"
       KEYWORDS: 1 Ceres, 4 Vesta

    4
    March
    2007
    Sunday

    3
    March
    2007
    Saturday
    • "Vatican astronomer blends faith, science," Concord Monitor 3 March - Quote: "[Brother Guy] Consolmagno was originally scheduled to give just one speech last night at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium... When the reservations list filled up immediately and calls kept coming in, the planetarium scheduled Consolmagno for a second event and decided to broadcast his talk into a conference room."
       KEYWORDS: Vatican meteorite collection
    • "Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System," content finalized in 2006, published 2007, first noticed at SpaceRef.com 2 March - Quote: "[The U.S. National Research Council] Task Group on Organic Environments in the Solar System surveys what is known about the sources of reduced carbon compounds throughout the solar system and examines how planetary exploration can improve our understanding... [The] group’s goal is to place a variety of disparate [research] activities in a unified context." - Note: Available to read free online, this book's chapters include "Interstellar Chemistry," "Meteorites," and "Primitive Bodies" ("main belt asteroids, Trojan asteroids, small satellites, comets, Centaurs, and Kuiper belt objects").
       KEYWORDS: cosmochemistry

    2
    March
    2007
    Friday
    • "Rosetta teams up with New Horizons," ESA 2 March - Quote: "ALICE is the ultraviolet imaging spectrometer [designed] to analyse gases being given off by Rosetta's target comet... Rosetta's ALICE was the prototype for the ultraviolet imaging instrument flying on New Horizons. At Pluto, New Horizons' ALICE will be used to study the tiny world's tenuous atmosphere."
       KEYWORDS: Rosetta comet mission
    • "Fiery object in sky spurs theory of downed plane," San Diego Union-Tribune 2 March - Quote: "A CHP sergeant working out of the San Clemente office radioed at 8:30 p.m. that he had seen a shooting star headed west into the Pacific Ocean."     KEYWORDS: 2007 March 1 southern California event
    Minor object science papers
    • "Infrared Absorption Investigations Confirm the Extraterrestrial Origin of Carbonado-Diamonds" by Jozsef Garai, Stephen E. Haggerty & 2 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 1 March - Quote: "The 2.6-3.8 billion year old fragmented body was of asteroidal proportions."
    • "The Properties of Jovian Trojan Asteroids Listed in SDSS Moving Object Catalog 3" by Gy. M. Szabo, Z. Ivezic & 2 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 1 March - Quote: "We extrapolate the results presented here and estimate that Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will determine orbits, accurate colors and measure light curves in six photometric bandpasses for about 100,000 Jovian Trojan asteroids."
    • "An extrasolar planetary system with three Neptune-mass planets" by C. Lovis, M. Mayor & 12 others, abstract & PDF at arXiv.org 1 March - Quote: "This star was already known to show an infrared excess possibly caused by an asteroid belt within 1 AU."
       KEYWORDS: HD 69830, cosmochemistry

    1
    March
    2007
    Thursday
    • "The Discovery of Eris," NASA Astrobiology Magazine 1 March - Michael Brown quote: "We’re sure we could find [136199 Eris (2003 UB313)] in Clyde Tombaugh’s original photographic plates, but Lowell Observatory appears to be reluctant to let us look... [It] would’ve been very faint on his plates. If you knew where to look I think you could see it, but there’s no way he should have noticed it."
       KEYWORDS: IAU planet definition, Pluto
    • "Local Scientist Advises How to Deflect an Asteroid," La Canada Valley Sun 1 March - Quote: "Many argue that if you destroy the asteroid [with a nuclear blast], then instead of one large threat there will be many small ones. [Donald] Yeomans said that would be true if it was destroyed within a year prior to impact. 'But [if it was destroyed] five years in advance, the vast majority would not hit [Earth].'"
       KEYWORDS: planetary defense
    • "Geologists find meteorite on Panama beach," Xinhua 1 March - Quote: "Panamanian geologists have found an meteorite at Rio Hato... [It fell] last Friday."
       KEYWORDS: 2007 Feb. 23 Panama event

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