Astrometry Begins

Subscribe to Syndicate
Today, the observatory begins an astrometry program for minor planets and comets. A "first light" image of numbered minor planet, or asteroid, (1865) Ceberus was captured this evening to mark the beginning of the observatory's astrometry observations to be submitted to the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University's Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
 
The start of this program begins the process of acquiring an "observatory code" assigned by MPC if the observations are of acceptable quality. The observations involve determining accurate positions of minor planets to sub arc-second precision (there are 3,600 arc seconds in an angular degree). The MPC reporting requirements are stringent, but that makes it all the more challenging.