Asteroid Astrometry

Astrometry, which in its most fundamental form involves finding the positions of celestial objects in the sky, is also one of the fundamental types of astronomical research. Whether it is fast-moving asteroids, newly-discovered supernovae, or planetary moons, determining the positions of objects is a basic need for astronomers. 


In this Seminar, researchers will be given calibrated astronomical data of a main-belt or Near-Earth Asteroid, they will learn to understand the different characteristics and features of astronomical images, learn how to use commonly available astrometry software, and subsequently reduce their dataset to determine the astronomical coordinates of their moving asteroid in a set of images. The end result will be the production of a real-world International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center (MPC) report that will be submitted to the MPC for verification and acceptance. 

Acceptance of a team's MPC Report will lead to an official citation and publication, which will appear in publication databases, such as the NASA Astrophysics Data System ( There are no prerequisites for this Seminar, but researchers should be comfortable learning new computer software. 


Upcoming Asteroid Astrometry Research Seminars:


Above is a short movie displaying the motion of main-belt asteroid (639) Latona. Seminar researchers will measure the position of an asteroid in each image and create an IAU Minor Planet Center (MPC) report that will be submitted for acceptance.