A set of 90 images were obtained on the night of 4/5 Oct 2003 of the
NEO 2003 TK, which at the time was listed as a virtual impactor.
The images were stacked into three sets of 30 to try and detect the
NEO, which was listed on the MPC ephemeris as mag +21.1V. It was faintly
visible and positions of it were measured.
Another (brighter) object was also seen moving towards the edge of
frame and putting the position into the MPC's Minor Planet Checker web
page showed no known minor planets anywhere close. Further positions
were obtained that night, extending the arc to 1h 45min and the
positions were mailed off to the Minor Planet Center, with the temporary
designation GS0307. It was measured to be about mag +19.5 R.
With the moon full on Oct 10th follow-up was needed urgently to get a
second night in case it was a new discovery. The night of Oct 7/8 gave
an opportunity, but high cloud and the bright moon stopped the object
from being recorded. The next clear evening was the night of the full
moon, Oct 10/11 and with the moon only 19° away the task seemed
impossible. However, a series of 60 images was taken and a very faint
object close to the position suggested by the ephemeris provided by the
MPCs New Object Ephemeris Generator page could just be made out. Another
(brighter) asteroid 2003 SX39 could also be made out close by. Positions
for both were sent off to the MPC and the designation GS0307 = K03T03Q
(= 2003 TQ3) came back, indicating that it was a new
Soon afterwards the MPC linked the object with single night positions
submitted from LONEOS on 22 Sep 2003, LINEAR on 30 Sep 2003 and from
Spacewatch II on 04 Oct 2003. As of 06 Nov 2003 futher observations have
extended the arc to 18 Oct 2003 but no old observations have been linked
from previous oppositions.
Using the Lowell Observatory's excellent Asteroid
Observation Chart Builder it can be seen that there is opportunity
in early 2005 to pick up 2003 TQ3 at its next opposition,
when it should get to within about 0.4 mags of its 2003 opposition
brightness. Unless more observations are made now it will have an
uncertainty in position of about 3' at that time. An ephemeris can be