2004 LA10 (First Spacewatch
FMO Project discovery by a UK amateur)
The University of Arizona's Spacewatch FMO
project gives amateurs a chance to examine images taken with a 0.9-m
telescope at Kitt Peak for fast moving objects and a number of these
have been announced since the project started at the end of September
News reached Great Shefford before nightfall on 14th June 2004 from
Ken Pavitt that he had located a fast moving object on Spacewatch images
from earlier on the 14th and that the object had been posted on the NEO
Confirmation page with temporary designation SW40Dv.
Originally given as a magnitude +17.9 object it was in fact at least
two magnitudes fainter and showed half magnitude variations within a
period of half an hour. Peter Kusnirak at the Ondrejov observatory
confirmed the asteroid's discovery using a 0.65-m telescope and further
observations were made from Great Shefford and four other observatories
before the Minor Planet Center published MPEC 2004-L66, with its
new provisional designation 2004 LA10.
It is an Amor asteroid, in an orbit with perihelion just outside the
Earth's orbit at 1.04 AU from the Sun, with a period of slightly less
than four years and a very low inclination to the Earth's orbit of 1º.
Ken lives in England just 50 miles from Great Shefford and is the
first UK amateur to find a Near Earth Asteroid as a member of the FMO
team. Congratulations to Ken!