NEO COORDINATION SYSTEM

The NEO Coordination System (NEOCS) consists in a network of services devised for the coordination of astrometric follow-up observations of Near-Earth Objects. After a long hiatus (the whole 2005) NEOCS has just restarted operations.

For more information about its development you can read this brief history report.

SERVICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE


INSTRUCTIONS FOR OBSERVERS: The first three links point to services dedicated to NEO follow-up observers. The last four services are for everybody and report various information on what has been done recently in NEO follow-up work or some details on how the Spaceguard System works.

In order to help observers to find their way around the list of services of the Spaceguard System, the following instructions and advice have been provided. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at Germano.Dabramo@iaps.inaf.it:

The following instructions are very simple: when observers want to set up an observing plan, they can follow the following scheme, by checking the services one after the other according to the order they have been listed here. So, the first step to follow is to look at the New Announcements page, then move to the Priority List and so forth. You can find additional information on each service at its appropriate link.

  • New Announcements: This is the most important site because it reports announcements of objects that require very urgent observations, most times due to the existence of remote collision possibilites with the Earth. Once you have checked this service you can move to the following list. Usually there are no more than 2 or 3 objects listed at a given time.

  • The Obsruns Page reports some information on current or scheduled observing runs of the most powerful observing stations that devote some time to NEO astrometric work. This feature is both: i) a way to communicate between the bigger follow-up stations to check their plans and preliminary results with each other as well as ii) an indirect way to provide to the smaller facilities an additional source of information to complement the suggestions provided on the lists reported hereafter. We recommend observers to read the instructions of the Obsruns Page also.
  • The Priority List: This is a much longer list since it reports all NEOs recently discovered in need of some observations. Usually 50 to 100 objects are listed at any time and they are divided into four categories. The Priority List, or PL, is the heart of the NEOCS. Try to observe as many objects as possible listed in the Urgent and Necessary categories. Move to the lower categories (first to the Useful list then to the Low Priority one) only if you have spare time left after investigating and attempted the objects of the first two categories that are within the capabilities of your facility.

  • The Faint NEO List, or FL, is one of the features of the Menu of Opportunities and is the natural extension of the PL to fainter magnitudes. Observers who are able to detect objects as faint as magnitude 22-23 are recommended to choose targets from this list rather than from the PL. Eventually they can move to the most urgent targets of the PL or to the RL (see next).

  • The Bright Recovery List (M. of Opp): If you have a relatively large FOV and are able to reach the 20th magnitude you may want to consider the Bright Recovery List (BRL), which reports NEAs brighter than magnitude 21 that can be recovered at a second apparition. Targets are still reported in a prioritized fashion. If you are working with objects that have high sky uncertainty and you cannot complete the search please contact us, so that other observers could make your effort worthwhile by locating the object where you had no chance to look at.

  • The Faint Recovery List (M. of Opp): If you have a relatively large FOV and are able to reach the 20th magnitude you may want to consider the Recovery List (FRL), which reports NEAs between magnitude 21 and 24 that can be recovered during a second apparition. Targets are still reported in a prioritized fashion. If you are working with objects that have high sky uncertainty and you cannot complete the search please contact us, so that other observers could make your effort worthwhile by locating the object where you had no chance to look at.

  • If you cannot reach faint magnitudes, but you can still cover a relatively long scan in the sky, you can consider looking at the Bright Lost NEOs list (M. of Opp.), or BLN. It is the natural extension of the RL at larger sky uncertainties, although we do not consider objects fainter than magnitude 20. Usually the number of objects in this list is relatively low, and with the recent improvements of the NEO survey programs, most of these bodies will be serendipitously recovered by them. But not all: as the recent case of 2000 PH5 shows, some objects need a targeted effort.

  • Hypothetical NEO List (M. of Opp.): This is another interesting feature of the Menu of Opportunities. It reports NEOs that does not exist as such, but may have been created by erroneous linkages of two different main-belt objects.


IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATION: It is important that you check these services on a regular basis and as you probably do with other services, for example after checking the NEO Confirmation Page of the Minor Planet Center.


The main goal of these services of the SCN is to secure the orbits of NEOs, so that they do not get lost and remain accessible to the scientific community for further studies. Also, further orbital improvements, which are also necessary to get these bodies numbered by the Minor Planet Center (NEOs observed on at least two oppositions), go beyond the scope for which SCN has been created. In this case, we recommend observers to check appropriate services at Lowell Observatory, the Minor Planet Center and NEODyS.




SERVICES TO BE IMPLEMENTED


This document was updated on June 5, 2007