Image of the Month - May 2003

MACE Asteroid

The second Meeting on Asteroids and Comets in Europe, MACE 2003, took place from May 1 to 4, 2003, at the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca, located near the village of Costitx. For the evening of May 2, an observing session was scheduled. Fortunately, the weather was fine. The participiants od MACE 2003, comfortably seated in the planetarium, used a remote controlled 0.3m Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope of the OAM for the observations, and the displays of the computers used to point the telescope, to take and to process the images, were projected on to the planetarium dome. A faint, fast moving object, then only known by it's provisional designation AG67211, was selected from the NEO confirmation page as the target of the observations.

2003 JY2
Credit & Copyright: MACE 2003 participients and Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca, Spain

A total of 22 individual images, each a exposure of 30 seconds, was stacked with Astrometrica to get this view, and the precise positions measured from this image (as ell as from a second, stacked image) was reported to the MPC in the same night. When the orbit of this NEO was finally published on MPEC 2003 J-17 next morning, it turned out that this small object, discovered by LINEAR and now designated 2003 JY2, passed the Earth in a distance of only 0.015 A.U. (about 2.2 million kilometers) a few days before. The size of this space rock is estimated to be only about 50 meters - smaller than the parking space of the observatory from which the observations were made...

Related Links:

  • MACE 2003 Report (with many images)
  • 2003 JY2 Object Homepage (NEODys)
  • 2003 JY2 Orbit Animation (JPL)

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