Re:Re 1998 QE2

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Posted by Martin Mobberley at 20:04 on 2013 Jun 11

Nick,The basic answer to your question is YES. If you go to: will see a list of orbital elements which can be downloaded for use in various popular software packages…. My favourite is Guide (now at version 9.0). Every package has its own way of uploading NEO data, which will be covered in the manual. If all else fails orbital elements can be typed inmanually for a specific object by going to: entering the object name plus selecting a format for elements output.HOWEVER, planetarium packages become inaccurate if the NEO is passing so close that the Earth’s gravity starts to dominate. In this case using that MPEph web page above is more accurate than a planetarium package if the object is, say, closer than the Earth-Moon distance. It is also important to specify your exact location on Earth as clearly the Earth’s radius of ~4,000 miles can cause a significant shift in apparent position if an object is within a few hundred thousand miles of us!If by ‘plot’ you also mean ‘plot a track’, then certainly Guide 9 can do that too, once the orbital elements are installed. But again, the observer’s location on Earth needs to be accurate and for very close NEOs the track may be inaccurate by a significant amount. For NEOs that are more than, say, half a million miles away the track should be accurate enough for all reasonable telescope slewing purposes…….Martin>Please advise if any planetarium software will give a plot of an NEO. Cheers Nick<