Minor Planet Checker query script
The MPChecker script (TAO\targets\MPChecker.vbe) automates the
task of requesting object identifications to the
MPC's Minor Planet Checker service.
The input data for this script consists of a text file containing astrometric observations
(in MPC format) to be identified.
On the first time you run MPChecker, you should take some time to customize
the script to suit your specific needs. This is done by editing the text file
contents are shown below:
radius = 30 ' Search radius (arcminutes)
magLim = 20.5 ' Limiting magnitude
obsCode = 860 ' Observatory code
timeout = 240. ' Timeout for ephemeris requests to the Minor Planet Checker (sec)
The various parameters which may be specified in this configuration file are explained
- radius. This is the radius (in arcminutes) around the
position specified in an astrometric observation which will be searched for known minor
solar system bodies.
- magLim. This is the limiting magnitude of the search
for known minor solar system bodies. Objects fainter than magLim
will not be listed in the output of MPChecker.
- obsCode. This is the MPC
code of the station where the observations were made.
- timeOut. This is a timeout value (expressed in
seconds) for identification requests submitted to the MPC web site. For example,
timeOut = 240 means that MPChecker will wait
for 240 sec after sending an identification request to the MPC web server before
giving up on that request. The value of this parameter should be considerably larger
than the average time it takes to receive the output of an identification request
from the MPC web site.
Save the file TAO\targets\MPChecker.cfg
after you have edited it.
Running the script
Open a DOS window (Command Prompt) and cd to the
TAO\targets directory. To review the command line options
for script MPChecker, type the command
C:TAO\targets\>cscript MPChecker.vbe ?
This will print the following help information:
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.
Usage: cscript MPChecker.vbe file
file A text file containing astrometric observations of minor planets or
comets which one wishes to identify using the Minor Planet Checker. If
the file argument is omitted or is a question mark (?), this help
information will be printed.
The astrometric observations (in MPC format) of the objects you wish to identify
should be saved to a text file in directory TAO\targets. An
example file would be
H3T301 C2003 10 03.15773 00 16 08.26 -45 04 12.7 860
H3T301 C2003 10 03.16492 00 16 07.24 -45 04 06.1 18.5 R 860
H3T301 C2003 10 03.17078 00 16 06.13 -45 03 52.4 18.2 R 860
H3T302 C2003 10 03.16737 00 31 28.26 -23 34 57.7 16.7 R 860
H3T302 C2003 10 03.17323 00 31 27.68 -23 34 47.9 16.6 R 860
H3T302 C2003 10 03.17728 00 31 27.21 -23 34 42.0 17.0 R 860
H3T303 C2003 10 03.18787 00 14 10.61 -44 54 46.0 860
H3T303 C2003 10 03.20601 00 14 09.23 -44 54 46.6 18.1 R 860
H3T303 C2003 10 03.21985 00 14 08.33 -44 54 46.1 17.7 R 860
Let us suppose that
this file is saved to the TAO\targets as
myObs.txt. To identify these objects, you would type the command
C:TAO\targets\>cscript MPChecker.vbe myObs.txt
After the script executes you will see a screen message like this:
List of downloaded HTML files written to:
The above file (which will be in directory TAO\targets) will
list the file names of one or more HTML files containing the Minor Planet Checker output for
your observations. In the above example, the output would consist of a single file named
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© 1999-2004 Paulo Holvorcem