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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 2003.

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 1.

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!


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