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Tue, 05 Dec 2023
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Small Asteroid 2023 CX1 (NEOCP Sar2667) impacted Earth on February 13

On 2023 February 12.8 (20:18:07 UTC), K. Sarneczky found a small asteroid with the 0.60-m Schmidt + CCD of the Piszkéstető Observatory in Hungary (K88 MPC code) that was soon after put on the NEOCP list with the provisional designation Sar2667 for the follow-up by other observers. The object was subsequently imaged by many observers around the world and various impact assessment systems found a 100% impact probability in the area of the English Channel on Feb. 13 between 02 and 04 UTC. This is the second discovery by Sarneczky of an impactor, following the 2022 EB5 event in March 2022.

M.P.E.C. 2023-C103 issued subsequently on 2023 February 13 at 04:13 UT assigned the official designation 2023 CX1 to Sar2667 with the following comment:
K. Sarneczky reported a new NEOCP candidate observed at GINOP-KHK (K88). Rapid follow-up from multiple sites indicated an impact with the Earth's atmosphere on February 13 03:00 UTC near the coast of Normandy, France, as determined by imminent impact monitoring services such as JPL's Scout, ESA's Meerkat and MPC's internal warning system.
Map of the impact zone predicted to occur a few kilometers from French coast, North-East of Le Havre. Click on it for a bigger version.

Asteroid Impact Site
© International Meteor Organization
2023 CX1 was a small Aten asteroid with an estimated size of ~1.0 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=32.6).


Humpback whale washes up dead on New York beach, 10th in 2 months

male humpback whale has washed ashore Lido Beach

Male humpback whale has washed ashore Lido Beach
NOAA reports 178 humpback whale strandings across 13 Atlantic states since 2016

Another whale has washed up dead overnight, making Monday's tragic discovery the 10th loss of the large water mammals in the past two months.

Officials were out on Long Island after a male humpback whale was spotted on Lido Beach before 7 a.m. He was dead by the time he was found.

Crowds gathering to catch the whale throughout the day prompted Hempstead Town crews to erect temporary fencing around the whale. He was so large, a backhoe was needed to move it away from the shore.


'Sun breaks tail of comet': Disconnection event observed on Comet ZTF

Something unusual is happening to the tail of Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3). It's being disconnected. The break is inset in this picture taken by Austrian astrophotographer Michael Jaeger on Jan. 17th:
comet ztf
This is a disconnection event: A piece of Comet ZTF's tail has been pinched off and is being carried away by the solar wind.

Blame space weather. CMEs hitting comets can cause magnetic reconnection in comet tails, sometimes ripping them off entirely. NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft watched this happen to Comet Encke in April 2007: movie.

This month, multiple CMEs have swept past Comet ZTF as a result of surging solar activity. One of them is responsible for the disconnection event.

Soon, we'll get a better look. Comet ZTF is approaching Earth for a close encounter (0.28 AU) on Feb. 1st. Between now and then, the comet's brightness will cross the threshold of naked-eye visibility, possibly peaking at magnitude +5. CME effects will be increasingly visible as the comet approaches. Stay tuned!

Comment: See also:

Comet 2

Possible naked-eye comet will visit Earth for first time in 50,000-years

The comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye as it passes the sun and Earth at the end of the first month of 2023.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)
© Hisayoshi Sato via NASA/JPL-Caltech
An image of the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) taken by astrophotographer Hisayoshi Sato as seen in a still image from a NASA video.
At the start of 2023 Earth will be visited by a newly discovered comet that may just be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye.

The comet, named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), is currently passing through the inner solar system. It will make its closest approach to the sun, or perihelion, on Jan. 12, and will then whip past Earth making its closest passage of our planet, its perigee, between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

If the comet continues to brighten as it currently is, it could be visible in dark skies with the naked eye. This is difficult to predict for comets, but even if C/2022 E3 (ZTF) does fade it should still be visible with binoculars or a telescope for a number of days around its close approach.

According to NASA, observers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves in the direction of the northwest during January. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will become visible for observers in the Southern Hemisphere in early February 2023.

Arrow Down

This asteroid impact simulator lets you destroy the world

A web app from Neal.Fun is a choose-your-own-adventure for planetary annihilation.
Impact Site
© Screenshot: Gizmodo/Neal.Fun
I aimed a 1,500-foot iron asteroid traveling at 38,000 miles per hour with a 45-degree impact angle at Gizmodo’s office in Midtown, Manhattan.
Hundreds of thousands of asteroids lurk in our solar system, and while space agencies track many of them, there's always the chance that one will suddenly appear on a collision course with Earth. A new app on the website Neal.fun demonstrates what could happen if one smacked into any part of the planet.

Neal Agarwal developed Asteroid Simulator to show the potentially extreme local effects of different kinds of asteroids. The first step is to pick your asteroid, with choices of iron, stone, carbon, and gold, or even an icy comet. The asteroid's diameter can be set up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers); its speed can be anywhere from 1,000 to 250,000 miles per hour; and the impact angle can be set up to 90 degrees. Once you select a strike location on a global map, prepare for chaos.


HAARP to bounce signal off asteroid in NASA experiment

HAARP in Alaska
© UAF/GI photo by JR Ancheta
With temperatures falling to 40 degrees below zero, a frosty landscape surrounds antennas at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program site in Gakona, Alaska, on Dec. 20, 2022. HAARP conducted a run-through on that date to prepare for the Dec. 27 asteroid bounce experiment.
An experiment to bounce a radio signal off an asteroid on Dec. 27 will serve as a test for probing a larger asteroid that in 2029 will pass closer to Earth than the many geostationary satellites that orbit our planet.

The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program research site in Gakona will transmit radio signals to asteroid 2010 XC15, which could be about 500 feet across. The University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array near Socorro, New Mexico, and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array near Bishop, California, will receive the signal.

This will be the first use of HAARP to probe an asteroid.

"What's new and what we are trying to do is probe asteroid interiors with long wavelength radars and radio telescopes from the ground," said Mark Haynes, lead investigator on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "Longer wavelengths can penetrate the interior of an object much better than the radio wavelengths used for communication."

Knowing more about an asteroid's interior, especially of an asteroid large enough to cause major damage on Earth, is important for determining how to defend against it.

"If you know the distribution of mass, you can make an impactor more effective, because you'll know where to hit the asteroid a little better," Haynes said.

Many programs exist to quickly detect asteroids, determine their orbit and shape and image their surface, either with optical telescopes or the planetary radar of the Deep Space Network, NASA's network of large and highly sensitive radio antennas in California, Spain and Australia.


1 dead, 1 hurt in dog attacks in West Memphis, Arkansas

dog attack
A man was killed and a woman badly injured by a pack of dogs in two separate attacks in West Memphis, Arkansas.

READ: https://wreg.com/news/local/dog-pack-...


Cryovolcanic eruption on comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann reported

comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann
The British Astronomical Association (BAA) is reporting a new outburst of cryovolcanic comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann. On Nov. 22nd, amateur astronomer Patrick Wiggins watched 29P increase in brightness by more than 4 magnitudes--a sign that a major eruption was in progress. On Nov. 23rd, André Debackère used the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii to photograph the expanding shell of debris:

The Pac-Man shape of the ejecta shows that this is not a uniform global eruption. Instead, it is coming from one or more discrete sources on the comet's surface.

This fits a leading model of the comet developed by Dr. Richard Miles of the British Astronomical Association. Miles believes that 29P is festooned with ice volcanoes. There is no lava. The "magma" is a cold mixture of liquid hydrocarbons (e.g., CH4, C2H4, C2H6 and C3H8) akin to those found in lakes and streams on Saturn's moon Titan. The cryomagma is suffused with dissolved gases N2 and CO, much like carbonation in a soda bottle. These bottled-up volatiles love to explode when a fissure is opened by the warming action of sunlight.

Comment: See also:

Fireball 5

New research reveals space debris, invisible meteors and near-Earth asteroids

In a new thesis from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and Umeå University, unique methods for the analysis of radar data and simulations of meteoroids in the solar system are presented. The methods have been applied to confirm the existence of rare high-altitude meteors as well as to measure space debris from the Kosmos-1408 satellite. On November 25, Daniel Kastinen defends his doctoral thesis.
Daniel Kastinen
© Martin Eriksson / Daniel Kastinen (illustration
Daniel Kastinen's thesis presents results that pave the way for future research and cross-disciplinary studies on meteors as well as on space debris and near-Earth asteroids.
"My primary goal has been to carefully analyze radar measurements of meteors and space debris and evaluate the precision of the measurements. This is to improve further analysis and use the results together with the new dynamical simulations. The work paves the way for future research and allows cross-disciplinary studies on meteors as well as on space debris and near-Earth asteroids", says Daniel Kastinen.

Every day, 10-200 tons of material from space, consisting of dust- sized particles and larger pieces of material - meteoroids, fall into the Earth's atmosphere. These particles come from parent bodies such as comets and asteroids and thus date back to the time when the solar system was formed. When a meteoroid hits the Earth's atmosphere and burns up in the form of a meteor, the material is dispersed in the atmosphere. Most of these meteors are invisible to the eye but can be detected by radar.

Arrow Up

'Planet killer' asteroid found hiding in sun's glare may one day threaten Earth

"Only about 25 asteroids with orbits completely within Earth's orbit have been discovered to date because of the difficulty of observing near the glare of the sun."

Asteroid behind Sun
© DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva/Spaceengine
Asteroids in the inner system are notoriously hard to detect because of the glare of the sun.
Astronomers have discovered a giant asteroid hiding in the glare of the sun that might one day cross paths with Earth

The 0.9-mile-wide (1.5 kilometers) asteroid is the largest potentially hazardous asteroid spotted in the past eight years and astronomers have dubbed it a "planet killer" because the effects of its impact would be felt across multiple continents.

The asteroid, named 2022 AP7, managed to avoid detection for so long because it orbits in the region between Earth and Venus. To spot space rocks in this area, astronomers have to look in the direction of the sun, and that is notoriously difficult due to the sun's luminosity. For example, flagship telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope never look toward the sun, as the star's brightness would fry their sensitive optics.

Because of that, astronomers have only a limited understanding of the nature of asteroids lurking in this region, and sometimes, surprises may happen. In 2013, a much smaller asteroid, only 66 feet wide (20 m), arrived from the direction of the sun completely without warning. That asteroid exploded above the city of Chelyabinsk in southeastern Russia, shattering windows on thousands of buildings.