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2004 DA53 (very small Aten after approach to Earth to within 1.3 lunar distances)

Estimated at only between 7-15 meters in diameter this Aten type minor planet had passed just outside the distance of the Moon's orbit (1.3 lunar distances or LD) at 7am on 24th Feb 2004 at which time it was about magnitude 17 and travelling at about 4 per hour.

Two days later LINEAR picked it up while still within about 4 LD but it had faded to magnitude +19.

The uncertainty area on the night of the 26/27th Feb 2004 was an oval about 10' x 40' in size and the entire area was imaged at Great Shefford over a period of about 1h30m. However, an initial examination of the images did not reveal the object. A few hours later Powell Observatory (649) picked it up and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page that it had been picked up about 8' NE of the indicated nomimal ephemeris position.

This placed it on the extreme edge of the uncertainty area and when the images taken at Shefford were re-examined sure enough the NEO could be made out on two separate sets of images taken 26th Feb 23;45-23:57 UT and 27th Feb 01:11-01:28 UT. Positions from these images were measured and sent to the MPC.

The next night was clear at Shefford and the object was recorded again (see image above) but by this time it was very faint and fading very fast. Positions from this set of images were the last reported of this object and included in the discovery announcement on MPEC 2004-D46.


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