Table of contents


Last updated 2009 March 2




1.0              Introduction


It is an objective of the Section to make observational data as widely available as possible. UK amateurs can have their observations published in a number of ways including this website (Observation received). Wherever you send your observations please copy the ARPS Director at


2.0       Minor Planet Center - Astrometry


Having first obtained an observatory code (see section, ‘Astrometry – Obtaining an Observatory Code’) amateurs can then submit astrometry to the Minor Planet Centre. Observations accepted by the MPC are included in the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars Daily Orbit Updates. They can also be found via the Observatory List and Object List pages of the NEODyS  and AstDys websites.


3.0       Various - Lightcurve Photometry


There is some on-going discussion within the section as to the best place to send lightcurve data. There is no single accepted repository as there is for astrometry but one possibility is the Minor Planet Bulletin


Geneva Observatory would appear to have one of the best collections of lightcurve data (the web page is in French but a Google English translation is available by clicking the link on the French page). Therefore the Section Director recommends that members submit such observations to Raoul Behrend at that observatory. Data submitted should cover at least a significant proportion of a complete rotation of the asteroid.


Data requirements


Data should be submitted in an ASCII table in the body of an email, or as an attachment, containing the following;

- Julian Date for the middle of the exposure (not light-time corrected)

- magnitude (absolute or differential)

- error


The first set of observations sent should also contain the following;

- asteroid number, name

- observer's name

- measurer's name

- telescope data

- location and MPC Observatory Code if applicable

- camera data

- filter used

- exposure time


Example format


Canopus data is quite acceptable as many observers use that software. An example is shown below - the header data has been slightly modified to include all the required items but the standard format can be used. Other formats are of course acceptable provided that the required data, correctly formatted, is included .




Asteroid:   423 Diotima


Session no: 1


Observer:   Roger Dymock

Measurer:   Roger Dymock

Location:   Obs code 940, Waterlooville, Hampshire, England

Start Date:       2005 Jan 12 @ 19:35

Color Band:       Unfiltered

Telescope:  0.25m f6.4 Newtonian

Focal length:     1.6m

Camera:           Starlight Xpress MX516


Delta Comp:       0.02

Delta Dist:       12.14

Sun Dist:         3.191

Earth Dist:       2.291


Temp (C):         39

Exp. (s):  30



Base JD = 2400000.0


Comp1: GSC 1873:228

Comp2: GSC 1873:110

Comp3: GSC 1873:204

Comp4: USNO-A2.0 star, no GSC ID


No reference stars. Instrumental magnitudes must be used for analysis.


Observation Data (single line only shown):



  U     J.D.          Date          UT            AM         OM          OMI         C1          


  Y   53383.31683  2005/01/12    19:36:14       1.221      99.990      -9.582      99.989    


C1IM        C2          C2IM        C3          C3IM        C4          C4IM        C5         


11.427      99.989     -11.133      99.989      -7.750      99.989      -7.976      99.990     


C5IM        CA      Obj-CAvg     Err


-99.990       -9.57      -0.011    0.007




In the partial table above OM1 is the instrumental magnitude of the asteroid and C1IM, C2IM, etc are the instrumental magnitudes of the comparison stars. If the measurements had been absolute rather than differential such magnitudes would have been shown under OM, C1, C2, etc.


4.0       Journal of the British Astronomical Association


Images and brief accounts of asteroid observations appear in the ’Observers’ Forum’ section of  the ‘Journal of the British Astronomical Association’ published six times a year. Contributions to the ’Observers’ Forum’ should be sent to the Journal Editor, Mrs Hazel McGee, email;


Anyone wishing to contribute a paper to the Journal should contact the Papers Secretary, Nick James, email; Preparation of such papers is described on the BAA Journal website.


5.0       The Astronomer


The Astronomer publishes observations, images and related notes monthly. Many BAA members also belong to that organization and submit their observations to the relevant Assistant Editor. For asteroids this is Dr Mark Kidger at


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