- Arecibo Observatory Open House at the 235th AAS meeting28 Oct, 2019
- UCF to Enhance Arecibo Observatory’s Computing Power Using Microsoft Azure17 Oct, 2019
- Arecibo Observatory Gets $19 Million NASA Grant to Help Protect Earth from Asteroids29 Sep, 2019
- National Science Foundation Awards Arecibo Observatory $12.3 Million Grant29 Sep, 2019
- El Observatorio de Arecibo celebra el regreso a clases con nuevas exhibiciones 30 Aug, 2019
- Asteroid Arrives Early for Puerto Rico’s Asteroid Day Celebrations28 Jun, 2019
- Our Telescope Operations Manager was recently awarded with the Yasme Excellence Award.19 Jun, 2019
- GBO/AO Single Dish and Observer Training Workshops04 Jun, 2019
- Alex Wolszczan discusses Arecibo’s potential in the field of exoplanets14 Mar, 2019
- Observ-a-thon reveals comet nucleus, holiday asteroid, and more!28 Dec, 2018
- New Arecibo Message 16 Nov, 2018
- El Observatorio de Arecibo celebra el regreso a clases con nuevas exhibiciones 20 Aug, 2018
- Arecibo Observatory to Get $5.8 Million Upgrade to Expand View17 Aug, 2018
- 2018 REU&T Recap 15 Aug, 2018
- Arecibo Call for Proposals06 Aug, 2018
- Arecibo Observatory Helps Test Einstein’s Theory of Relativity for Heavy Objects13 Jul, 2018
Byadmin28 December 2018 Comets
Observ-a-thon reveals comet nucleus, holiday asteroid, and more!
Team radar from across several institutions were busy this month observing many targets of interest, including Comet 46P/Wirtanen, near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220, and 7 other NEAs. The cross-institution teams used the NASA-funded Arecibo S-band planetary radar to study these objects in order to measure their astrometry, size, and characterize their surfaces.
Arecibo radar was able to pierce through the dust and gases that surround Comet 46P/Wirtanen to reveal for the first time its diameter and shape. The observing campaign was led by Dr. Ellen Howell, researcher at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL). Dr. Howell was also a staff scientist at Arecibo for many years prior to moving to LPL. Her radar observing team included Dr. Mike Nolan, also from LPL, Drs. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin and Patrick Taylor, USRA scientists at LPI, and members of the UCF/Arecibo planetary radar group, Drs. Anne Virkki, Sean Marshall, and Flaviane Venditti.
Range-Doppler image sequence of Comet 46P/Wirtanen taken on 17 December 2018 UT. Here the range (veritcal axis) resolution is 20 m/pxl and Doppler frequency (horizontal axis) resolution is 0.05 Hz/pxl. This set of images reveals the comet to be elongated, with a visible extent of some 540 m, which suggests a diameter > 1km. Several radar bright spots, which could be boulders or other structures, including one at the center of the image that barely moves, can be tracked as the body rotates.
To learn more about these comet observations, click here!
(163899) 2003 SD220
Arecibo also observed near-Earth asteroid (163899) 2003 SD220 using the largest radio telescopes in the nation. For these runs, Arecibo used its powerful transmitter while the echoes were received at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. This observing campaign was co-led by Drs. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin and Patrick Taylor, USRA scientists at LPI who both worked at Arecibo for many years. Arecibo observers included members of the UCF/Arecibo planetary radar group, Drs. Anne Virkki and Sean Marshall. Observers at Green Bank included Amber Bonsall and Drs. Frank Ghigo and Andrew Seymour. Another experiment, called speckle, was carried out where Arecibo transmited and several radio telescopes of the VLBA received the echoes. The speckle experiment was led by Dr. Michael Busch, SETI scientist.
To learn more about these asteroid observations, click here!
More NEAs!Additionally, the UCF/Arecibo planetary radar group, Drs. Anne Virkki, Flaviane Venditti, and Sean Marshall, detected several near-Earth asteroids: 2003 NW1, 2018 XC4, 2014 JU54, 2018 XS4, 2010 GT7, 2012 MS4, and 2018 XJ1. For all of these objects, the team submitted valuable astrometry, which will help in determining their orbits precisely.
The Arecibo Planetary Radar Program is funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program. The Arecibo Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by University of Central Florida, Yang Enterprises, and Universidad Metropolitana.
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