ASTEROIDS at Sunflower Observatory 739

Current Discoveries: A list of minor planets discovered by Sunflower Observatory.

The asteroid work at Sunflower Observatory is into its second year now. The original 10" LX200 has been upgraded to an LX200 12" and the ST7 camera has been upgraded to an ST9E. The ST9E has a much larger field of view, about three times the ST7 and is also much more sensative. The plans are to use the St7E on the 10" LX200 to do additional imaging simultaneously with the 12"/ST9E.

A new control center has been put together in the breakfast nook with new oak furniture. The computer system has been upgraded to a network of three computers. A laptop is used for camera and scope control, an older 486/66 is used to blink images, and a newer Pentium 166 is used to do reductions and communicate via the internet while imaging. Plans are to add another faster computer soon to do reductions and just use the Pentium 166 for internet access. Another laptop will be used with the 10"/ST7.

Many sessions now are automated using Brian Warner's MPO Connections program to automatically shoot a series of 25 to 30 asteroids in a row with 60 to 120 sec exposures. This list is repeated four times usually, yielding four images of each field with about an hour between exposures. Images are blinked and unknowns reported immediately. Known asteroids are measured and reported during the next cloudy night or weekend. What I like most about this system is I can sleep while the telescope and camera do their thing. This means I can now advantage of those clear weeknights and still go to work the next day well rested.

This system has resulted in a number of new designations and some significant orbital corrections to known asteroids. Reports of daily observing runs are sent by email to those who subcribe via the egroups subscription service. Those wishing to subscribe may do so by emailing me at You will have the option of viewing the reports in a weekly summary or via the net rather than getting the daily reports via email.

Here is the current Discovery Status Report for Sunflower Observatory:

Current Discoveries

I was very pleased to learn recently that two of my discoveries have been numbered. I have already submitted names for them to the Minor Planet Center and should hear something official in January. It is forbidden to preannounce names before they have been officially approved so I cannot tell you what I suggested. Just that Spikus Maximus is not one of them.

Here is the historical report on previous asteroid activity at Sunflower:

Early Asteroid Work

NEODyS provides information and services for all Near Earth Asteroids. Each NEA has its own dynamically generated home page providing information and services, and a search facility puts the information in easy reach. The NEODys web page also maintains individual statistics for each observatory conducting Near Earth Asteroid observations.

Sunflower 739's NEO page show that over 800 observations have been made of NEOs thus far starting with the first one (1036) Ganymed on October 1, 1998.

Here is the story of the first discovery made at Sunflower Observatory:

A Sunflower Discovers an Asteroid

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