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Unmanned Exploration Of Comets & Asteroids
bobik
post Feb 25 2021, 09:15 AM
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Hera's camera has been changed from flight spares of Dawn's Framing Camera to a camera without a filter wheel from the company Jena-Optronik. The motivation for this decision is "unknown", well at least to me! huh.gif
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Tom Tamlyn
post Jun 20 2021, 04:51 PM
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It seems as though mega-comet 2014 UN271 will be the subject of sustained study and lively discussion, even if it never becomes the object of a mission. In light of Rule 2.8 I’m parking this post here with the request that the mods consider moving it to its own thread.

QUOTE
T. Marshall Eubanks
@TM_Eubanks
Interesting discovery: 2014 UN271- a 100 km object from DECam.
Perihelion 2031 Jan 28
a = 5416.99752 +/- 228 AU
e = 0.9979808 +/- 8.56e-5
Incl. 95.53003 +/- 0.00023
Period = 398692 years!
H = 7.8
q = 10.9377353 +/- 0.000814 AU
Q = 10823.0573 +/- 459 AU

https://twitter.com/TM_Eubanks/status/1406122217142984704

QUOTE
Jason Wright
@Astro_Wright
No biggie, just a barely-bound dwarf planet coming within 11 au of the sun over the next 10 years…

The next decade of planetary science discoveries is going to be WILD!

https://twitter.com/Astro_Wright/status/1406327094863446017

QUOTE
Emily Lakdawalla
@elakdawalla
Oh my gosh, how fast can we build and launch something to rendezvous with this mega-comet? Size suggests probably not technically a dwarf planet but it’s a big ‘un. (About Epimetheus size.) 11 AU is near Saturn distance so still cold enough to be quite pristine.

https://twitter.com/elakdawalla/status/1406584665859772417
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Explorer1
post Jun 20 2021, 05:15 PM
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A very nice find.
With such a high inclination, I don't think it's really within even ESA's Comet Interceptor capabilities? The perihelion is far out of the plane of the solar system (and 11 AU is quite far for a SEP mission). Perhaps the ascending and descending nodes?
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Ron Hobbs
post Jun 20 2021, 11:51 PM
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According to the JPL Small-Body Database Browser period of this object is more than 612,000 years and the aphelion (Q) is more than 14,411 A.U. That is almost a quarter of a light-year.

This is based on the latest observation in 2018 and there is no computation of uncertainty, so the specifics are likely to change. But clearly this thing is coming from way out there.
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volcanopele
post Jun 21 2021, 03:20 PM
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Yeah, this comet is way outside the area Comet Intercepter can target. CI requires the comet to reach a heliocentric distance of 0.8 to 1.2 AU and the encounter has to take place near the ecliptic.

I wouldn't be surprised if we'll start seeing some observations come in over the next week or so now that it's announced. If Hubble weren't out of commission right now, this is the exact sort of discovery that would be great for it to take a look at.


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bobik
post Jun 23 2021, 09:43 AM
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Hera will have a spacecraft monitoring camera onboard.
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Tom Tamlyn
post Jun 26 2021, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE
Incoming Visitor From the Oort Cloud Could Be Among the Largest Comets Ever Documented
The newly detected object is somewhere between 62 and 230 miles long.

https://gizmodo.com/incoming-visitor-from-t...-the-1847149513

The Gizmodo article linked above contains a useful summary of the discovery of and prospects for 2014 UN271, with interesting comments from several astronomers. There is also a link to several tweets from Dr. Pedro Bernardinelli @phbernardinelli, a PhD candidate in physics & astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania who led the discovery project, a search for Trans Neptunian Objects using the massive data set created by the Dark Energy Survey, https://www.darkenergysurvey.org/.

Dr. Bernardinelli's feed is currently full of additional information and links. Among other things, he explained something that had puzzled me, namely why an object so recently identified was assigned a 2014 designator. The discovery was the result of a computationally intense analysis of images acquired between 2014 and 2018 within a big data feed. There is no single "discovery image," and by convention they used the date of the earliest image. See https://twitter.com/Tom_Ruen/status/1406952833774145540
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bobik
post Jul 19 2021, 06:15 AM
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Nice presentation about JAXA's DESTINY+ expedition to (3200) Phaethon.
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