Wednesday 28 June 2006

2006 June notes: 2006 KZ112 and 2006 MU6

Several objects were followed over a period of a couple of weeks during the month, including 2006 KZ112 which has an interesting 'Encke like' orbit (2006 KZ112: q=0.29, e=0.89, i=38, P=4.0, Encke: q=0.33, e=0.85, i=12, P=3.3).

Of the other objects observed, 2006 MU6 was picked up on June 27 after being discovered by Spacewatch on June 20th and is a possible Mars Trojan (though the uncertainties on the orbital elements are still large). Already very faint it is predicted to fade quickly.

Saturday 3 June 2006

2006 May notes: 2006 JE, 2006 GY2, 2006 HX57, 2006 JV26 and 2006 JF42

May was on the way to being my worst month since Nov 2003 until the unsettled spell finally ended on 27 May and four of the last five nights were clear.

The month had started well with some fast movers - 2006 JE was a LINEAR discovery that I managed to confirm when it was on the NEOCP, about 1/2 degree off track and moving at 94"/min. A much easier target because it was over 4 mags brighter at +14.0 but travelling at about the same speed was 2006 GY2 on May 15.9, just a few hours before it passed 7 lunar distances from Earth and the same time as it was being observed from Arecibo and Goldstone and found to be a binary with components of 400 m and 80 m diameter. 2006 HX57 was observed on May 6.0 at mag 16.5, moving at 92"/min and also 2006 JV26 on May 8.9 at mag 16.5 and moving at 290"/min, less than 3 lunar distances away.

An interesting object discovered on May 11 by the Catalina Sky Survey was 2006 JF42, observed from May 15-31, deep in the glow of evening twilight. It has a very short period of only 201 days (shorter than Venus) but with an eccentric orbit taking it from 0.28 AU at perihelion to 1.06 AU at aphelion, with the most favourable viewing circumstances being when aphelion occurs around May 21, when it would be placed in the opposition region of the sky south of the ecliptic. This year aphelion was only two weeks later but the best elongation achieved was only 96 degrees.