comets

recovery of comets @ European Space Agency’s Optical Ground Station (ESA OGS)

Since 2012, I have the opportunity to plan and analyze observations for a telescope of the Teide Observatory, the European Space Agency’s Optical Ground Station (ESA OGS), on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife. In a team of professional Astronomers and experienced Amateurs I am responsible for the recovery of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets. The Amateur Astronomers are volunteers. The project is supported by the „Space Situational Awareness Programme“ of the  European Space Agency (ESA).

The telescope is not remote controlled. So the measurers of our Team (Matthias Busch, Amateur from Starkenburg Observatory, Andre Knöfel, Amateur from Lindenberg Observatory, Detlef Koschny from ESA/ESTEC, Marco Micheli from ESA/ESRIN, Erwin Schwab, Amateur from Taunus Observatory) prepare the observing plan and analyze the images from home. The target list is submitted via email to Pablo Ruiz or David Abreu, who operate the Teleskope on site. After the exposure is done the measurer, normaly that one who proposed the target, can download the images for analyzing and submit the results to the Minor Planet Center (MPC).

Our group has an observing slot of 3-6 nights per month at ESA OGS. About 30% of that slot is used for recovery targets. The rest of the slot is used for our survey called TOTAS and for follow-up observations.

The main focus of the project are Near Earth Objects (NEOs). From September 2012 to July 2016 more than 50 NEOs were recovered. If there is no suitable NEO for a recovery campaign then we try to recover a comet. The recovery of the  following comets were successful:

Issued 2017 June 22 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
COMET 2017 M2 = P/2004 T1 (LINEAR-NEAT) -> M.P.E.C 2017-M40
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 4406 (2017).
Animation of recovery Images
difference of ephemeris to prediction:  16,6 arcminutes (NASA-JPL-prediction)

Issued 2016 July 4 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2016 N1 = P/2008 J3 (McNAUGHT) -> M.P.E.C. 2016-N12
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 4288 (2016).
Animation of recovery Images
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 15,6 arcminutes (MPC-prediction), 12,3 arcminutes (NASA-JPL-prediction)

Issued 2016 June 5 – identification found after targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2010 N1 (WISE) = 2016 GE216 -> M.P.E.C. 2016-L36
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 4283 (2016).
Animation of images which verified the identification and long exposure image
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 1,26° (MPC-prediction), 0,75° (NASA-JPL-prediction), 3 Fields needed

Issued 2016 Feb. 5 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2016 A9 = P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) -> M.P.E.C 2016-C42
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 4253 (2016).
Animation of recovery images
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 1,8 arcminutes (MPC-prediction), 2,0 arcminutes (NASA-JPL-prediction)

Issued 2016 Jan. 11 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2016 A4 = P/2001 F1 (NEAT) -> M.P.E.C 2016-A105
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 4237 (2016).
Animation of recovery images
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 4,5 arcminutes (MPC-prediction), 3,9 arcminutes (NASA-JPL-prediction)

Issued 2014 Nov. 19 – targeted recovery by team member Marco Micheli
2014 U5 = P/2005 RV25 (LONEOS-Christensen) -> M.P.E.C 2014-W19
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU No. 4017 (2014).

Issued 2014 July 30 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2014 O2 = P/1997 T3 (Lagerkvist-Carsenty) -> M.P.E.C 2014-O65
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 3925 (2014).
Animation of recovery images and story of recovery
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 10 arcminutes (MPC-prediction)

Issued 2014 July 25 – accidental recovery by TOTAS-Survey (Software by Matthias Busch, object visually processed by Felix Hormuth)
Comet 2014 O1 = P/2000 QJ46 (LINEAR) -> M.P.E.C 2014-O44
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU No. 3923 (2014).
Animation of recovery images

Issued 2014 June 2 – targeted recovery by team member Erwin Schwab
Comet P/2014 L1 = P/2003 U3 (NEAT) -> M.P.E.C 2014-L12
Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams of IAU, No. 3887 (2014).
Animation of recovery images
difference of ephemeris to prediction: 0,61° (MPC-prediction), 3 Fields needed