Tools for Automated Observing
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  System requirements
Getting Started
  Modeling slew times
  Measuring camera
  download times
  Specifying filter
  names and numbers
  Modeling the local
  Creating user profiles
  Initializing target
  Customizing the
Daily Operation
  Starting observatory
  control software
  Updating target
  Generating a list of
  potential targets
  program Targets
  Running program
  Targets output
  Preparing a list of
  observation requests
  Running the
  Starting scheduled
Image Acquisition with
the MU Script
  Customizing the
  Starting MU
  Sequence of events
  during an observing
  run using MU
Timing Refinement
  Collecting timing
  Analyzing timing
  Adjusting the
  empirical timing
Other Tools
  Slew time
  measurement script
  Minor Planet Checker
  query script
  Regression program
  Software updates
  License agreement
  Contact the author
Daily Operation

Step 3: Generating a list of potential targets (continued)

Targets output

You should open the list of potential targets with a text editor and examine its contents. The format of the list is illustrated below:


  Configuration file: myStation.cfg
  Log file:           myStation_targets.log
  Date:               2003-06-08 07:23 UT

                R.A.  Dec.          Motion    P.A.  Elong  Gal.Lat. Moon dist.  Delta
  Designation   (h)  (deg)  mag.  (deg/day)  (deg)  (deg)   (deg)     (deg)      (AU)     Last obs.  Arc    Type                   File

e 2003 EJ59    12.60 -27.4  21.8      .5000   108    120     +35        37       .8005   2003-04-21  40d    Amor             PUBL  K03E59J.elm
d 1999 XQ164   12.62 -34.8  19.1      .2500   042    121     +28        44      1.1854   2001-10-17  2opp   Hungaria         PUBL  J99XG4Q.elm
d 2002 GZ32    12.62 +12.3  20.3      .0120   222    106     +75        16     20.5326   2003-04-08  2opp   Centaur          PUBL  K02G32Z.elm
l 2002 XZ69    12.63 +38.4  21.8      .6900   166    093     +78        34      1.3406   2002-12-14  1d     Mars crosser     PUBL  K02X69Z.elm
n 2003 FC5     12.64 +01.1  21.1      .3600   114    111     +64        16      1.1162   2003-05-30  64d    Apollo           PUBL  K03F05C.elm
d (10145)      12.64 -10.9  20.9      .1169   308    116     +52        23      1.4727   2002-03-09  4opp   Apollo           PUBL  10145.elm
d 2002 AO148   12.67 -25.9  19.9      .0420   018    120     +37        36      3.6449   2003-03-13  2opp   Centaur          PUBL  K02AE8O.elm
e 2002 XP40    12.70 -01.1  21.8      .5500   124    113     +62        18       .7319   2003-04-06  121d   Amor             PUBL  K02X40P.elm
d 1999 RZ200   12.71 -24.5  18.8      .0970   022    121     +38        35      2.5193   2002-03-13  3opp   Main Belt IIIb   PUBL  J99RK0Z.elm
d 2001 UY24    12.72 -16.1  19.0      .1900   045    119     +47        28      1.9733   2003-04-30  2opp   Main Belt IIIb   PUBL  K01U24Y.elm
v 2000 RX97    12.73 -23.1  17.9      .1500   037    121     +40        34      1.7668   2003-05-08  4opp   Maria            PUBL  K00R97X.elm
n (52340)      12.75 -14.2  20.6      .2900   111    118     +49        27      1.0748   2003-05-03  3opp   Apollo           PUBL  52340.elm
n 2002 LW      12.75 -02.9  20.1     1.5365   018    114     +60        19       .1177   2003-01-30  2opp   Apollo           PUBL  K02L00W.elm
N 2003 GC38    12.77 -01.6  20.2      .1100   149    114     +61        19      1.9314   2003-05-02  2opp   Main belt IIb    PUBL  K03G38C.elm

The targets are listed in order of ascending right ascension, beginning at the Sun's right ascension. The meanings of the various columns of the table (from left to right) are described below:
  • Priority code. The observing priority level for some targets is indicated by a letter in the first column of the table. NEO candidates to confirm and NEOs classified as virtual impactors are automatically marked with the highest-priority code, an asterisk. NEOs for which the MPC requests "continuing observations" (often recently demoted from virtual impactor status) are also marked with an asterisk. The remaining priority codes, in order of decreasing priority, are u (urgent), e (extremely desirable), v (very desirable), d (desirable), n (not needed at this time or not needed at this opposition). These priority ratings are extracted from the Minor Planet Ephemeris Service output for minor planets with published orbits. For comets and minor planets without published orbits, the priority rating is not supplied by the MPC, so the first column of the table of potential targets is left blank. For typical main belt asteroids, the same priority codes are used, but are shown as upper case letters (U, E, V, D, N). This distinction is made because, according to the MPC, the priority codes should not be the only criterion in deciding whether or not a NEO should be observed on a given night. For example, in some cases the Minor Planet Ephemeris Service may say that further observations of a currently observable fast-moving NEO will only become desirable in a few weeks, when the object will have become unobservable. In such a case, it may be advisable to observe the object immediately, since this may be the last opportunity to observe it in the current apparition. For typical main belt objects, the MPC considers that the priority ratings are fully satisfactory. Priority codes may also be assigned by the user.

  • Designation. This column gives the target's designation. An additional "object" of special interest to minor planet observers, the anti-solar point, is also listed.

  • Right ascension. This is a low precision coordinate given in hours. For fixed objects it is extracted from the fixed object database (which in turn may have obtained the coordinates from some external catalog). For moving targets, it is obtained from the available ephemeris in the moving object database.

  • Declination. This is a low precision coordinate given in degrees.

  • Magnitude. This is the target's predicted magnitude.

  • Rate of motion. For moving targets, this is the predicted rate of motion (expressed in degrees/day) based on the available ephemeris in the moving object database. The rate of motion is zero for fixed targets.

  • Position angle of motion vector. For moving objects, this is the position angle (measured in degrees from north = 0 through east = 90) of the predicted motion vector based on the available ephemeris in the moving object database.

  • Elongation. This is the solar elongation (expressed in degrees).

  • Galactic latitude. This is the galactic latitude (expressed in degrees).

  • Distance from the moon in the sky. This is the angular distance (expressed in degrees) between the target and the moon in the sky.

  • Geocentric distance (Delta). For moving targets, this is the distance (expressed in astronomical units) between the target and the Earth.

  • Date of last observation. For minor planets and comets, this is the date of the latest astrometric observation received by the Minor Planet Center.

  • Observed orbital arc. For single-opposition minor planets, this is the length of the observed orbital arc (expressed in days). For multi-oppositon minor planets, the number of observed oppositions is given.

  • Object type. This field provides a classification of the target. Fixed targets are simply listed as "Fixed". Minor planets are classified according to their orbital elements based on Bill Gray's simplified classification scheme. Comets are simply classified as such.

  • File. This is the name of the file in the TAO\targets directory which contains the information about the target.

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Next: Preparing a list of observation requests

© 1999-2004 Paulo Holvorcem