Identifying Minor Planets in UCAC Data and Deriving Accurate O-C
NAVAL OBSERVATORY WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
With growing capability to observe fainter celestial bodies, the observation of minor planets, or asteroids, is a recent addition to star catalogs. The US Naval Observatory USNO Charge-Coupled Device CCD Astrograph Catalog UCAC has observational data O on minor planets. Customized software was used to calculate ephemerides C, using the orbital elements from Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL. The ephemerides provided the location of minor planets for the approximate time of UCAC observation. The present study involved development of software to identify minor planets in the ephemerides and match them with the unidentified celestial bodies in UCAC observations, using the minor planets coordinates. Mean motions of minor planets from the ephemerides were used to make adjustments to minor planets coordinates based on the time difference between the UCAC observation and ephemeris calculation. The output tables and plots were derived using object-oriented and procedural programming designs based on the strengths of each design. A statistical analysis of the spread of minor planets and the observed minus calculated, O - C, was conducted for minor planet positions and magnitudes. With precise error determinations, possible orbital improvements can be made to determine asteroid collisions with other matter, including Earth, well in advance.
- Celestial Mechanics
- Computer Programming and Software