J. Ticha, M. Tichy, and M. Kocer
Klet' Observatory, Zatkovo nabrezi 4
CZ-370 01 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) belong to the most fascinating bodies
in the solar system. These small bodies have the capability
of making close approaches to or even collide with the Earth.
The number of known Near-Earth Objects has increased
enormously in recent years due to LINEAR and other large surveys
(Spacewatch, LONEOS, NEAT and CSS). This discovery process has
to be folloved by follow-up observations to obtain a sufficient
number of precise astrometric data needed for an accurate orbit
determination of newly discovered bodies. About forty per cent of
the known NEOs have been observed for more than one opposition.
The Klet Observatory has pursued NEO follow-up CCD astrometry since 1994. This follow-up programme covers confirmatory observations of newly discovered NEO candidates, continues over a sufficient observing arc of NEOs in the discovery apparition and also considers testing of newly discovered NEOs for possible cometary activity. A very important part of this programme are NEO recoveries in the second convenient apparition. A special attention is given to the Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs).
We discuss here methods, techniques and results of the Klet NEO follow-up CCD astrometric programme using 0.57-m telescope. The present magnitude limit of this programme is about V=20 mag. The Klet Observatory is one of the most productive world sites in this field.
We also mention ways for selecting useful and important targets for NEO follow-up astrometry.
Finally we present here a planned extension of Klet NEO programme to fainter objects by means of larger, 1-m telescope, which is being built at Klet now. An increasing magnitude limit of NEO surveys as well as a need for astrometric data for fainter objects (observations in a longer arc, recoveries, cases of "virtual impactors" etc.) shows that NEO observations need more observing time on larger telescopes, and we hope to help.