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A Problem of an estimation of accuracy of the asteroid CCD observations

The Minor Planet Center supported by the Interntional Astronomical Union is the main office for keeping observational data of the small Solar System bodies and their investigations. It is working with a large success in different practical fields of Celestial Mechanics. At Pulkovo Observatory we are estimating an accuracy of the CCD asteroid observations obtained by amateurs and professional astronomers all over the World using the MPC database. The month MPC's batches were available from the Institute of Applied Astronomy (IAA), St.-Petersburg, due to Prof. Marsden (MPC) courtesy. The IAA receives these data for an improvement of orbital asteroid system published in their annual book "Ephemerides of Minor Planets".

As a rule, an accuracy of positional observations of asteroids and comets carried out with different telescopes in the World is obtained as a result of improvement of orbits for these celestial bodies. Usually the residuals of (O-C), i.e so called "Observational" minus "Calculational" positions, for each observatory and each minor planet are published in the Minor Planet Circulars together with new system of elements for considered minor planet. Current estimation of accuracy which characterizes numerically the observational errors for any observatory, both professional and amateur, during a short period (for example, per night or per several close nights) are absent in the MPC practice. Some advanced amateurs (a number of amateur observatories is strongly increasing now from month to month) are calculating their accuracy parameters themselves. Of course, they want to know a quality of their asteroid observations every night and also to compare an accuracy of own observations with other ones. We are sure that a testing of obtained asteroid positions may be carried out by observer himself. He ought to send his asteroid observations to the Minor Planet Center but after their accuracy testing and identification control. It will be better for MPC also.


Copyright by Izmailov I. S., Bykov O. P., Kastel G. R.
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