Permanent facilities for astrometric follow-up purposes using telescopes of 1-m or larger

Because of the improved performance of the NEO survey programs since September 2001, the pressure on the follow-up facilities for assuring a desiderable level of orbital determination accuracy has increased consistently. In addition to the availability of specific observing runs (updated continously on a similar page), a few facilities in the 1-m size range are available for astrometric follow-up work on a permanent or semi-permanent mode in the course of each lunation. Though still insufficient, these intiatives represent a more efficient way to conduct NEO follow-up work because it requires a very high degree of time flexibility. They should guarantee a better coverage of NEO follow-up, at least for what concerns objects with non zero collision solutions for the next 80 - 100 years.

This page reports some information on the current most powerful observing stations, regularly or semiregularly available for NEO astrometric work.

This feature is a way to communicate between the bigger follow-up stations to check their plans and preliminary results with each other before publication of observations on the Minor Planet Center MPECs - DOU. It is also an indirect way to provide to the smaller facilities an additional source of information about where to direct their efforts when the programs reported in this page are operating. This page is also an attempt to assist the follow-up stations directly in order to make them distribute their follow-up efforts more efficiently during the lunation. It is intended as a complementary service to the various lists (Priority ..., Recovery ..., Faint NEO .....) of the NEO Coordination System of the SCN, as well to its twin service, Obsruns - scheduled runs, as it will become clearer hereafter.

Usage of this information

Similarly to the Obsruns - Scheduled runs page, observers are encouraged to check their observing schedule for the night (plus additional information such as weather conditions ... ) in order to reduce duplication of efforts. How to make good use of this information? We suggest observers the following general guidelines:

a) If an object is classified as urgent observers should not worry about duplicating efforts: their observations will turn out to be very desiderable even if another observer is following the same object on the same night.

b) While some redundancy is desiderable for objects of the top category, it would be useful to avoid observing identical objects from other categories on the same night.

The suggestions and considerations on this page are ESSENTIALLY valid within a particular time frame: from the time the observer makes his/her plans available to the community to the time the observations are published on MPECs-DOU (the typical window is between 1 and 3 days). The SCN lists are generally updated around 1.00 p.m. UT of each day, a few hours after the MPEC-DOU and the NEODyS database. As soon as this happens, PRECENDENCE for making targeted observing choices should be given to the SCN lists and not derived from the observer results which are already published!!

Very often access to big facilities is limited only to the very urgent objects because very little time can be dedicated to this work. For this page, this applies in particular to Target of Opportunity programs.

The following information is released by the observing programs to us in order to improve the coordination work; since they have no obligation to provide such information, we are most grateful to them for their cooperation and useful suggestions.

Observing typology

The observing TYPOLOGY is an index which provides a general idea of the kind of effort that will be spent for NEO astrometric work. We distinguish three cases:

Available facilities (updated on November 14, 2003)

At the moment three dedicated programs, one for each typology, are operating:

Class (1):

Class (2):

Class (3):

General information

In addition to the preliminary information you have just looked at, for each observing run we provide the following information:

KLENOT project, Klet Observatory, Czech Republic - class (1)

Spacewatch program, Kitt Peak Observatory, AZ, USA - class (2)

La Palma Observatory, Canary Islands - class (3) - Target of Opportunity

This document was updated on December 3, 2003. If you need more information about this service, please write to Andrea Boattini and Germano D'Abramo