Acquisition of the Minor Planet Center code for the Astronomical Observatory of the Technological University of Pereira (W63)

Santiago Jimenez, Edwin Quintero, Jairo Alberto Aguirre

Abstract


In order to determine the orbits of minor bodies in the Solar System, and in this way foresee collisions with Earth, it is of fundamental importance to perform precise measurement of the relative positions of these objects. The Minor Planet Center (MPC) is a service of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that receives and distributes the measurements made by observatories all around the world, and likewise uses this information to estimate the orbits of minor bodies. An observatory must firstly demonstrate the capacity to perform measurements with errors below one second of arc through the dutiful application of the MPC methodology before obtaining an international designation. We discuss the methodology implemented at the Astronomical Observatory of the Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira (OAUTP) to obtain the MPC code. In order to do so, we observed the asteroids 1568, 2235 and 713 during the days 6 and 9 of February of 2016 with a 0.4064 m MEADE LX200 GPS telescope, a SBIG ST-2000 XM camera and a f/6.3 focal reducer. The acquired data was sent with an average error of 0.194 arcsec and a standard deviation of σ = 0.037 arcsec, which granted to the OAUTP the designation W63 under the name Observatorio Astronomico UTP, Pereira. The MPC code obtained certifies the quality of the astrometric data acquired from the OAUTP, opening the gates to the development of observational programs of currently interesting objects, like very Near Earth objects (NEO).


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References


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