Milos Tichy (1,2), Michaela Honkova (1,3), Jana Ticha (1), Michal Kocer (1)
(1) Klet Observatory, Zatkovo nabrezi 4, CZ-370 01 Ceske Budejovice
South Bohemia, Czech Republic
(2) Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Advanced Geodesy, Prague, Czech Republic
(3) Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Enginnering, Institute of Mathematics, Brno, Czech Republic
The Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) belong to the most important small bodies in the solar system, having the capability of close approaches to the Earth and even possibility to collide with the Earth.
In fact, it is impossible to calculate reliable orbit of an object from a single night observations. Therefore it is necessary to extend astrometry dataset by early follow-up astrometry. Follow-up observations of the newly discovered NEO candidate should be done over an arc of several hours after the discovery and should be repeated over several following nights.
The basic service used for planning of the follow-up observations is the NEO Confirmation Page (NEOCP) maintained by the Minor Planet Center of the IAU. NEOCP gives an access to ephemerides for newly-discovered fast-moving or other unusual objects, which need independent confirmation as well as follow-up.
This service provides on-line tool for calculating geocentric and topocentic ephemerides and sky-plane uncertainty maps of these objects at the specific date and time. Uncertainty map is one of the most important information used for planning of follow-up observation strategy for given time, indicating also the estimated distance of the newly discovered object and including possibility of the impact. Newly discovered objects will remain on the NEOCP until there is sufficient observations to allow reliable orbit calculation.
Moreover, observatories dealing with NEO follow-up regularly have prepared their special tools and systems for follow-up work.
The system and strategy for the NEO follow-up observation used at the Klet Observatory are described here, including methods for selecting useful and important targets for NEO follow-up astrometry. Methods and techniques used at the Klet NEO follow-up CCD astrometric programme, using 1.06-m and 0.57-m telescopes, are also discussed.