AGU Fall Meeting – Internal Structure and Composition of Small Solar System Bodies

Third day of the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting tomorrow, Wednesday December 5, and I anticipate another busy day. Julie Castillo from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and myself organized a session on the internal structure and composition of small solar system bodies (SSSBs). This session will give us an opportunity to discuss recent results on the compositions and physical properties of asteroids and comets.  The discussion and results should be new since our view on the internal structure of SSSBs has changed drastically over the past decade thanks to the exploration with spacecrafts and the discovery of satellites around several asteroids.

Possible asteroid internal structures by Walkers et al. (Advances in Space Research Volume 37, Issue 1, 2006, Pages 142–152)

No Detection of a Scar on Jupiter in the NIR

Some news about the Jupiter flash which was detected on September 10. I reported the absence of detection in the visible light from data collected by amateur astronomers. Glenn Orton, a  colleague from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,  sent me yesterday two observations of Jupiter taking with the IRTF telescope and the SpeX Guiding camera in the near-infrared. No scar, or debris field, can be seen at the location of the flash. The meteoroid did not enter in the inner part of the planet atmosphere. This observation confirms that it was most likely a meteor.

2.3 um observations of Jupiter taken with the IRTF telescope and the SpeX guide camera. The dark circle indicates the location of the flash observed on September 10 2012 (credit: G. Orton, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Flash on Jupiter – most likely a meteor

As I mentioned in this blog, yesterday two amateur astronomers reported the detection of a flash on Jupiter yesterday on September 10. Since then, various teams have been working around the clock to estimate if this event was a meteor or a large fireball. The results are coming…

Recombined image of Jupiter and the flash made by R. Hueso (University of Basque Country at Bilbao) based on the only known video recorded by George Hall (amateur astronomer located in Dallas, Texas) (Credit: R. Hueso & G. Hall)

Another fireball on Jupiter?

An amateur astronomer reported the visual detection of a fireball on Jupiter at 11:35 UT (September 10 2012) last night. It was confirmed on a video recorded from Texas. This is the 6th impact of Jupiter detected so far.

A screen capture from the video recorded on September 10 2012 at 11:35 UT by George. The video was captured with a 12" LX200GPS, 3x Televue Barlow, and Point Grey Flea 3 camera.

An Occultation by the double asteroid (90) Antiope seen in California

Last Tuesday July 19 at 3:25am PDT, several SETI REU students and colleagues from SETI institute and Observatoire de Paris were on the road. They were looking at the sky with  tiny telescopes and surrounding by complex instruments somewhere in the middle the Californian countryside to witness and record a rare event: the occultation of a bright 7-mag star by the double asteroid (90) Antiope.

A picture of our home taken from Mercury's orbit

Just a short post today. I am still recovering from the SETIcon. I will tell you more about it soon. An image is worth a thousand words so just look at this picture taken by Messenger Spacecraft.

The binary system Earth-Moon seen from the Messenger Spacecraft with its Wide Angle Camera credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
The binary system Earth-Moon seen from the Messenger Spacecraft with its Wide Angle Camera (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

Keck AO Observations: Multiple Asteroid Systems

I mentioned in my previous post that we observed several known multiple asteroid systems during our last observing run with the W.M. Keck Observatory and its Adaptive Optics Systems. If you have been following my blogs and/or the scientific articles of our group (you are courageous…) you should know that this is the scientific topic which is taking most of my time recently.