Mostly the Universe stays unchanged for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years. There are some cases however when some things change really rapidly. Recently I observed one of these rapidly changing, transient phenomena, as asteroid called 2012 DA14. I work for Las Cumbres Observatory and we have been trying to observe this asteroid since 5 February.
A large meteor streaked through the skies above Russia on the morning of Feb 15th, causing a deafening sonic boom that shattered windows and injured hundreds.
It's taken me a year to face the emotionally draining task of reading and writing about Galileo's cruise phase as chronicled in the mission's newsletters.
Last week at a meeting of NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Han Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a lengthy presentation on Chang'E 2. Her presentation included a new sequence of photos from the December 13 Toutatis flyby.
My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.
The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.
Near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis will be passing within 7 million kilometers of Earth on December 12. Both radio telescopes and the Chang'E 2 spacecraft will be acquiring images.
A few days ago, the Dawn mission finally published their archival data. During the year of delay I often looked with anticipation to the Planetary Data System to check whether or not images were there, and I am delighted that they are finally available. Was the wait worth it? Definitely!
Planetary Radio: A Dawn MIssion Update
And a Video Tour of Marc Rayman's Space Collection
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/11/20 12:36 CST
A Planetary Radio status report from the Dawn mission's Marc Rayman, accompanied by a fascinating video tour of Marc's at-home collection of space information and memorabilia.
After a false start earlier this year, the first chunk of Dawn Framing Camera data from Vesta has finally made it to the Planetary Data System. As a first step to understanding the data set, I've built some index pages to these cool images.
Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?
A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/02 05:54 CDT
Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.
Dawn's last images of Vesta peek into previously shadowy north polar territory. As the spacecraft leaves Vesta behind, its science team requests help from the public.
I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.
According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!