Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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473 – Ryugu Bound
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is conducting a six year flight from Earth to a potentially hazardous asteroid whose name is spelled Ryugu and pronounced (doo goo) . In 2018 and 2019 the spacecraft, named Hayabusa2 (hi ya boo sa 2), will take data on Ryugu (doo goo) at close range and collect samples to bring back to Earth in 2020 for further studies. Ryugu (doo goo) is almost one km or 3,280 feet in diameter and is on an orbit which could bring to less than a quarter of the Moon’s distance from us. Previous data indicates Ryugu (doo goo) to have a composition rich in carbon. Further it’s rocks and minerals appear to have been in contact with water sometime in the past. During the 18 months Hayabusa 2 orbits Ryugu (doo goo) it will release three or four rover/landers. Samples unaffected by solar radiation are collected by firing a bullet into the surface. The debris are scooped up by a long cylinder with a cone shaped end protruding from the spacecraft which is used during the touchdown sampling maneuver. The Hayabusa 2 return capsule will enter the Earth’s atmosphere at 12 Km/s for a parachute controlled landing in the Woomera Test Range in Australia. Ryugu (doo goo) is likely to have under gone little change since the formation of the solar system and samples of it will provide unique clues about the composition of the small bodies which brought water and the chemicals needed for life to the young Earth.
474 – Earth/Venus Shuttle
My Catalina Sky Survey teammate, Jess Johnson, was observing, in the constellation of Virgo, with our Schmidt telescope on Mt. Bigelow, Arizona when he spotted a 100 foot diameter asteroid on one of it’s regular trips between the orbits of Earth and Venus. After Jess posted his discovery observations on the Near Earth Object Confirmation Page this new space rock was tracked for 46 hours by telescopes in Arizona, South Bohemia, Croatia, Pennsylvania, and Australia. Scientists at the Minor Planet Center used these data to calculate it’s 295 day orbit around the Sun, estimate it to have a diameter of 100 feet, and give it the name 2018 LM. On this trip between the orbits of Venus and Earth, Jess was able to spot 2018 LM because it was one the rare occasions when it is bright enough for asteroid hunters to detect. 2018 LM came particularly close to Venus in 1921 and made near passes to Earth in 1951 and 2018. It is likely collide with one of these planets in the future. According to the Purdue University and Imperial College of London’s impact calculator a space rock of 2018 LM’s size enters our atmosphere once every 231 years or so breaks into pieces at an altitude of 150,000 feet creating a sonic boom. Such an impactor produces a spectacular light show, and is likely to rain pieces of itself to the ground for meteorite hunters to discover.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
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365 Days of Astronomy
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