Astrometric followup status

It is not enough to find these interesting objects. To ensure that continued studies can proceed, these newly discovered objects need to be measured with some regularity. Unfortunately, telescope time on facilities capable of getting followup observations is in very short supply. Therefore, we are forced to be extremely efficient in our use of this time. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than seeing two sites be used to observe the same TNO within a few nights of each other. They could have done two objects instead.

To help with prioritizing and keeping track of any followup work, I have developed these pages to summarize various subsets of the known TNO's. Each of these pages linked to from here are machine generated. Pay careful attention to the time stamp on the page. These pages automatically generated each day but errors do crop up in the file creation from time to time. If the date is more than 24 hours old it's likely that there is some error that I have not found yet. Please send me email in this case and I'll get it fixed. The following links provide information on:

Status of new objects without official designations.

Status of our discoveries with official designations.

TNO's with secure positions.

TNO's with decent positions.

TNO's in need of astrometry.

TNO's that are lost.

Any of the objects on the page for non-designated objects need additional astrometry to secure their discovery. For details and instructions, read our suggestions for collaboration.

Additionally, I have a pair of files that contain information about all objects that can be used in support of recovery observations. The files are named YYMMDD.dat and YYMMDD.sdat, where YYMMDD stands for the last two digits of the year, the month and day. In this file are positions, motion rates, astrometric history, orbital information, and more. The .dat file contains all designated or numbered objects. The .sdat file contains all of our unconfirmed objects. In the .dat file all objects with a trailing '=' are objects from the Deep Ecliptic Survey. These files are designed for use with an IDL program,, that provides a GUI for selecting and tracking observations of TNO's during recovery efforts. This program is freely available as part of my IDL library. There is some imbedded documentation in the .dat/.sdat files in case you wish to process the files yourself.

Marc W. Buie, Lowell Observatory, last modified 2005 Feb 15, 10:37 am