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Using Ground-Based Small Telescopes In Solving Orbits Of Some Asteroids

Authors: Mohammad Odeh

Journal:  Emirati Journal of Space and Astronomy Sciences

Volume: Vol 1 Issue 2

Keywords: Small Telescopes, Asteroids, Al-Khatim Observatory, Real-Time Monitoring, 1036 Ganymed, 99942 Apophis


This study demonstrates that small telescopes can be used to solve the orbits of bright asteroids. A 5-inch apochromatic refractor telescope located in Al-Khatim Observatory, in the desert of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was used to determine these orbits. The observatory’s MPC code is M44.

To validate the accuracy of our observations, we observed two asteroids with solved orbits published in the Minor Planet Center website on the basis of numerous observations: 99942 Apophis from Aten and PHA groups and 1036 Ganymed from Amor group.

The orbital element sets of both asteroids were identical. The maximum errors were 0.2% for Ganymed and 0.1% for Apophis, respectively. For equatorial coordinates generated by both sets, the difference in Apophis was less than one arc minute and that in Ganymed was less than 2 arcseconds. A small telescope with satisfactory guiding accuracy can be employed to obtain accurate orbital elements for bright asteroids.

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