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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Virgil, NY
    Posts
    5,090

    Default MPC Observatory Code

    Beginning in mid-September, and again in mid-October, I have been unsuccessful in trying to get the Minor Planet Center to create an observatory code for my location. I've followed the MPC guidelines on their website. I believe I included all of what is needed and emailed to the right address, but I've gotten no response, nothing. So I have clearly made some mistake, but without feedback I can't know how to fix it.

    I'd appreciate if someone who's done this before would look over the attached file and give a clue about what might be wrong. The attached was the most recent. To submit, I copied the data from this file to an email and sent it as plain text to obs@cfa.harvard.edu. I got an ISP delivery receipt but no other confirmation from MPC. It's been four weeks since this filing. I have many more observations to submit, but can't.

    Thanks.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Dick
    www.VirgilObservatory.us
    Pier-mounted Meade 12-inch SCT "classic"
    w. focal reducer to f/5.3 ~ FL 1630mm
    Optec TCF-S focuser
    SBIG CFW-8A and ST7-XME
    FOV ~ 15' x 10'
    H-alpha, BVRI, RGB & Clear filters
    MaxIm and, of course, ACP!
    AAVSO Code: BRIC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    ABQ (me) // Rincona NM (scope)
    Posts
    771

    Default

    Dick: I didn't count columns against the file standard, but overall it looks right to me.

    About the delay--I submitted similar data December 2018, and I still haven't heard from them. (My previous obs designation in 2008-9 took a week or two if memory serves.)

    Don't know what to advise you about MPC. For my own part, even though I have some asteroid discoveries under my belt, I've now moved on--if they no longer want my astrometry for free, then fine, I have more important things to do.
    New Mexico Mira Project, Albuquerque NM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Virgil, NY
    Posts
    5,090

    Default

    Thanks, Eric, for the comments. The columns are correct.

    I'll be patient, maybe. It's been a year for you? - perhaps their observatory code database is full . Also, there doesn't seem to be any way to "complain" or inquire at cfa.

    I'm not sure I can be of much help regarding NEA tracking anyway. I can only reliably detect down to about m=18.5 with my small SCT on the darkest, clearest nights, using short enough exposures to capture the "still" motion of a rapidly moving asteroid. Where the help is needed is more likely down at m=21 or 22 - beyond my reach.
    Dick
    www.VirgilObservatory.us
    Pier-mounted Meade 12-inch SCT "classic"
    w. focal reducer to f/5.3 ~ FL 1630mm
    Optec TCF-S focuser
    SBIG CFW-8A and ST7-XME
    FOV ~ 15' x 10'
    H-alpha, BVRI, RGB & Clear filters
    MaxIm and, of course, ACP!
    AAVSO Code: BRIC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    ABQ (me) // Rincona NM (scope)
    Posts
    771

    Default

    Dick, I applaud your patience with MPC. I sometimes wish I could share it, but everything about my last winter's interaction with MPC seemed designed to make me go away. So after the government shutdown ended and still they said nothing, I did go away.

    A shame, because on any given night, many dozens of asteroids with V magnitudes of 16-18 do need followup astrometry, some with uncertainties more than 10 arcseconds. Such large uncertainties tend to increase with the square of time passed (orbits missed), and once an asteroid is lost, it can require a decade to recover confidently, and that only with luck. Much better to recover them while they are still within 100 arcseconds. I even wrote scripts to hit their database and list asteroids I could recover with my 14" scope. There were always plenty. But they never even bothered to respond.

    It's a mystery that MPC don't let us help. But despite our great interactions in the past they pushed me away, so at this point I'm done with them.
    New Mexico Mira Project, Albuquerque NM

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Alpine, Utah
    Posts
    221

    Default

    they are really busy around MPEC time. It took me several months to get my code. You can try emailing Gareth at the MPC, but I found just waiting was the best way to get the code.

    In the meantime, you can continue to submit observations using the "Roving" code, https://minorplanetcenter.net/iau/info/RovingObs.html

    I used this while I was waiting. The bad part, you don't get "credit" so to speak.

    b
    Mountainville Observatory
    MPC: V01
    Alpine, Utah
    Paramount MX+
    Celestron C14-XLT, Carbon Fiber
    SBIG STL-1001E
    ACP Expert
    Custom built roll-off-roof (that works most of the time)
    https://github.com/scubabri/NEO_SELECTION
    http://neocp.jostjahn.de/station-V01.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Alpine, Utah
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Here is an example of one of my 247 submissions in the old format, I dont believe I have one in ades-2017 format, but I believe Astrometrica and Tycho will handle it just fine.


    Code:
    COD 247
    CON B. Sheets, 312 S Pineview Drive, Alpine, Utah 84004 [brians@fl240.com]
    OBS B. Sheets
    MEA B. Sheets
    TEL .35-m Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD
    ACK NEOCP MPCReport file updated 2018.11.16 22:30:27
    AC2 brians@fl240.com
    NET Gaia DR2
         ZTF01ok  V2018 11 17.18766 06 12 53.88 +51 48 51.0          18.3 G      247
         ZTF01ok  v2018 11 17.18766 1 248.2384   +40.4490    1550                247
         ZTF01ok  V2018 11 17.19242 06 12 40.21 +51 46 41.5          18.0 G      247
         ZTF01ok  v2018 11 17.19242 1 248.2384   +40.4490    1550                247
         ZTF01ok  V2018 11 17.19783 06 12 24.86 +51 44 14.7          18.1 G      247
         ZTF01ok  v2018 11 17.19783 1 248.2384   +40.4490    1550                247
         ZTF01ok  V2018 11 17.22393 06 11 09.59 +51 32 13.0          17.4 G      247
         ZTF01ok  v2018 11 17.22393 1 248.2384   +40.4490    1550                247
    ----- end -----
    Mountainville Observatory
    MPC: V01
    Alpine, Utah
    Paramount MX+
    Celestron C14-XLT, Carbon Fiber
    SBIG STL-1001E
    ACP Expert
    Custom built roll-off-roof (that works most of the time)
    https://github.com/scubabri/NEO_SELECTION
    http://neocp.jostjahn.de/station-V01.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Virgil, NY
    Posts
    5,090

    Default

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for responding with your example. I'm not in a particularly big hurry, but it would be nice to have had some message back about how it might be a long while, rather than waiting on "hold" listening to the elevator music in my head, as it were. I understand it's not a commercial business, either. Otherwise I might expect better customer service. I'm not complaining.
    Dick
    www.VirgilObservatory.us
    Pier-mounted Meade 12-inch SCT "classic"
    w. focal reducer to f/5.3 ~ FL 1630mm
    Optec TCF-S focuser
    SBIG CFW-8A and ST7-XME
    FOV ~ 15' x 10'
    H-alpha, BVRI, RGB & Clear filters
    MaxIm and, of course, ACP!
    AAVSO Code: BRIC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Alpine, Utah
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Berg View Post
    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for responding with your example. I'm not in a particularly big hurry, but it would be nice to have had some message back about how it might be a long while, rather than waiting on "hold" listening to the elevator music in my head, as it were. I understand it's not a commercial business, either. Otherwise I might expect better customer service. I'm not complaining.

    I think submitting rover observations helped speed things up. I have no proof of that, but since they are tight on codes and very busy, it might play into when they get around to it.

    I don't think it would hurt to email Gareth and ask, gwilliams@cfa.harvard.edu

    if you are interested, there is a facebook group for Minor Planet stuff. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1442958012638876/ they might also have some insight as to what the delays are.

    I submitted my required observations in April of 2018, and I got my code in late November. So yah, it could take a while. Don't despair, use the 247 code to submit your observations.

    b
    Mountainville Observatory
    MPC: V01
    Alpine, Utah
    Paramount MX+
    Celestron C14-XLT, Carbon Fiber
    SBIG STL-1001E
    ACP Expert
    Custom built roll-off-roof (that works most of the time)
    https://github.com/scubabri/NEO_SELECTION
    http://neocp.jostjahn.de/station-V01.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Alpine, Utah
    Posts
    221

    Default

    "Observatory Codes
    2019 Dec 11: 15:31. In processing requests for new observatory codes, verifying the precise location of the observatory and evaluating the quality of test observations can be time-consuming. However, these steps are necessary to maintain the quality and integrity of the MPC data collection. The MPC endeavors to process all requests as time permits. We prioritize requests from observatories that will submit large volumes of observations of reliable quality or that will submit crucial, high quality observations."
    Mountainville Observatory
    MPC: V01
    Alpine, Utah
    Paramount MX+
    Celestron C14-XLT, Carbon Fiber
    SBIG STL-1001E
    ACP Expert
    Custom built roll-off-roof (that works most of the time)
    https://github.com/scubabri/NEO_SELECTION
    http://neocp.jostjahn.de/station-V01.html

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    ABQ (me) // Rincona NM (scope)
    Posts
    771

    Default

    I submitted data a year ago and filled out their form too, but then MPC didn't even bother to acknowledge.

    Several years ago I submitted hundreds of observations to MPC from our 27" scope, including > 20 recoveries of lost minor planets and 6 minor planet discoveries. This year alone I've submitted 26,000 observations to AAVSO, every single one calibrated against multiple Landolt standard fields and every single one with extinction correction and filter transformations. But hey if that's not good enough for MPC, well bless their little hearts.
    New Mexico Mira Project, Albuquerque NM

 

 

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