Last updated 09 Oct 2016

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Asteroid Gallery

2003 NZ6 (A personal account of a brief encounter with an Aten)

Designation

Having found the object on exposures taken between 22:06:40 and 22:09:10 UT I posted a comment on the NEOCP indicating the offsets to the object from the initial ephemeris (16 arcmin west and 22 arcmin south of nominal) in case anyone else was trying to image at that time. I then e-mailed the preliminary measures to the MPC at 22:38 UT.

Further images were taken that night and more positions were sent off to the MPC at 00:01 UT and 00:36 UT. After spending the rest of the night imaging some other NEOs (2003 LP6, 2003 MK4 and 2003 NW1) a final run on AH13022 was done in twilight between 02:02 and 02:22 UT and the reduced positions sent off to the MPC before finally closing up the observatory. 

At 14:43 UT 10 July 2003 the MPC issued MPEC 2003-N39 designating the new object as 2003 NZ6 and reporting the 5 discovery positions from LINEAR (704), 8 positions from the start of the evening from Great Shefford together with 4 positions from Church Stretton (966) in the UK and 5 from Modra (118) in Slovenia. The last three positions included were from my final twilight run and together with the other positions extended the arc long enough for the MPC to issue the preliminary orbit.
The initial orbital elements were given as:

Orbital elements:
2003 NZ6
Epoch 2003 June 10.0 TT = JDT 2452800.5 MPC
M     213.85443 (2000.0)
Peri. 311.49574
Node  124.74243
Incl.  18.24955
n
  1.39490416 
a  0.7933043 
e  0.4935181 
P  0.71
H  19.3

The ephemeris showed that the object would travel quickly north, closing to within about 2 of the North pole by July 16th, two days later reaching its closest to the Earth at a distance of 0.067 AU.

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