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2009 Statistics Page

NEO Follow-up Observations in 2008

The Astronomical Research Institute in 2008 was one of the world's most progressive facilities conducting research and education in the field of Near Earth Objects (NEO) utilizing the Astronomical Research Observatory (ARO) 0.61m (24 inch) and the 0.81m (32 inch) telescopes.

In the past year ARO operated 187 nights producing a total of 11,593 observations in their NEO follow-up program, the largest number by any observatory in the world including the large sky surveys.  ARO made 4,355 more observations than the 2nd ranked observatory in overall measures.  2008 statistical data also shows that ARO is the second observatory to make more than 10,000 NEO measures in a single year.  The  Lincoln Laboratory ETS, New Mexico - 704 is the only other observing facility to achieve this benchmark in years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  In 2008 ARO made 39% of all faint observations based on the table below.   Data courtesy of the NEO Dynamics Site in Pisa, Italy.

 

OBSERVATIONS OF FAINT NEOs in 2008-2009

Observatory                    Aperture

Code

22nd  Mag

23rd Mag

24th Mag

Total Obs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magdalena Obs.             2.4m

H01

14

2

0

859

D. Tholen Team             2.2m

568

36

12

1

386

Spacewatch                   1.8m

291

111

1

0

5826

Mt. Lemmon                                              1.5m

G96

48

0

0

8026

Calar Alto Obs.                     1.23m

493

10

0

0

578

Spacewatch                                                       0.91m

691

0

0

0

2,310

ARO                                             0.81m

H55

225

26

0

11,593

                                                                         Table notes:
                                                       
Data is based on published observations in the MPECs from 2008 04 15 – 2009 04 15.  
                                                       
Total Obs. are based on individual measures of NEOs from the NEO DyS Database.
                                                       
Columns 3, 4 and 5 are based MPEC object detections and not individual measures of NEOs.
                                                       
Table is based on telescope apertures 0.80m and larger involved in NEO research.

 

  (Source:  NEO Dynamics Site)

 

 (Source:  Minor Planet Center Electronic Circulars)

ARO made the largest number of faint NEO measures published in the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECs) during the a period from 2008 April 15 - 2009 April 15 reporting period with 208 individually targeted near earth asteroids fainter than unfiltered magnitude 22.0. 

 

(Source:  Minor Planet Center Electronic Circulars)

In addition, ARO produced the largest number of published observations in the MPECs fainter than unfiltered magnitude 23.0, with a total of 26 individually targeted near earth objects.  The PI’s faintest detection of a moving object in 2008 was of NEO 2008 XU2 at unfiltered magnitude 23.7 on December 30, 2008.  This object was discovered by the Mt Lemmon Sky Survey (G96) on 2008/12/06.26 with ARO confirming this discovery on 2008/12/07.38 MPEC 2008-X55 : 2008 XU2 using the 0.61-m astrograph.  At the time of this writing (January 6, 2009) ARO was the last to observe this Virtual Impactor using the 32” telescope on 2009/01/03.25.

The considerable number of faint NEO observations in the past year in this investigation substantially increased the orbital arcs of many near earth asteroids making recovery more probable during their next opposition.  Last observation credits for Potential Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) that pass within 10 lunar distances of the earth are considered important data to NASA/JPL, the NEO Dynamics Site and the Minor Planet Center.  In 2008 ARO was credited with 47 observations, the largest number worldwide and nearly double the number of the 2nd ranked observing facility.  Hill Sphere Last Observation Credits are courtesy of Hohmann Transfer – NEO Traffic report.

 

(Source:  Hohmann-Transfer "Traffic Report)

In the past 12 months the Astronomical Research Observatory (H55) made 155 confirmation observations of newly discovered Near Earth Objects.  In addition, 20 confirmation observations were made of newly discovered comets for the large sky surveys.  On July 1, 2008, the discovery of comet C/2008 N1 (Holmes) was made at ARO using the 0.61-m astrograph on a Paramount ME at unfiltered magnitude 20.1.  A webpage detailing C/2008 N1 (Holmes) may be found on the ARI website.  The faintest NEO confirmation observation made in 2008 for the large sky surveys was NEO 2008 WM64 at unfiltered magnitude 22.1 using the 0.81-m telescope.   Twenty-one successful recoveries of near earth objects were published in the MPECs in 2008 with NEO 2006 XA the faintest asteroid at unfiltered magnitude 23.1.  ARO was also the first observatory to confirm this NEO for the Catalina Sky Survey on 2006 12 02.

The PI’s investigations in 2008 included many impact risk objects.  A total of 56 near earth object “Virtual Impactors” were removed from the JPL NEO Program Sentry and the NEO DyS CLOMON as a result of ARO follow-up observations.  In 2008 observations at ARO were published in 589 Minor Planet Electronic Circulars and 29 International Astronomical Union Circulars.

 

(Source:  NEO Dynamics Site)

The above table displays the top 10 observatories worldwide involved in Near Earth Object Observations from 1900-2008.  There are currently 1,423 observatory codes issued by the Minor Planet Center and ARO observatory code H55 currently ranks eighth in total NEO observations worldwide.  ARO made their first NEO observation on 2006/02/06.08 of NEO 2006AW making H55 the most recent entry on this chart. 


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