Monday 2 January 2006

2005 December notes: 2005 YQ96, 2005 YW

There were not many long observing runs on NEOs during December, but probably the most interesting result was helping confirm the discovery of 2005 YQ96 on December 30th, which with an aphelion distance of 0.992 AU makes it the 6th known "Apohele", or Minor Planet with it's orbit completely inside the Earth's orbit.

Also, 2005 YW discovered on December 21 was examined carefully on a couple of nights for signs of cometary activity but it appeared stellar in a 26 minute exposure in good conditions on the 28th. This object has a period of about 2000 years and with perihelion at 2.0 AU due next winter it is possible it may eventually show activity. Unfortunately it will be lost in twilight this coming spring and will pull away from the Sun next winter but at far southerly declinations, not visible from the UK.