17 New Asteroids Found by LightBuckets
October 05, 2009

I wanted to see first hand just how good LB-0001 could be at finding 20-21st magnitude objects so that I could pass the word on to our customers. Now I know...

I imaged for an average of 2 hours per night for 7 nights straight (I did my imaging when the scope wasn't already booked). Out of these 14 hours of imaging, I found 17 new objects that have received provisional designations from the MPC. I have 4 others that are still pending provisional designations. There were also 3 that I considered lost as I couldn't find them after two follow up attempts and 2 that I gave up on because I ran out of time.

My imaging strategy was to find an area in the main belt that was relatively devoid of asteroids during the time of my imaging run (I knew this by loading the entire MPCORB database in to TheSky and checking the FOV for any known objects at my run time). I then setup an imaging plan of 6 subframes at 300s each (of course with a guide star selected as well). This number of frames and integration time allow me to get nice deep images (at least mag 21, probably closer to 22), provided a good time span so that any moving objects would be detected via blinking, and gave me enough extra data should there be noise or some other artifact that interfered with my science data.

Once I had my data and got it calibrated, I would blink it in Astrometrica, looking for anything that moved. There wasn't a single instance where I pointed the scope in an area near the asteroid belt that I didn't find at least 1 new object and usually 3 or 4. All were at mag 20 or greater. Often times I would actually see fainter objects in the noise but couldn't isolate them well enough to get good astrometry.

Now that I have gone through this little exercise (and have 17-21 objects I get to name once they go around the Sun a few times ) I can attest that LB-0001 is an absolutely outstanding instrument for finding asteroids.

I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have about hunting minor planets with LightBuckets instruments. It is both fun and challenging - give it a try!



P.S. LB-0001's Minor Planet Center Designation is H11
1: Posted October 6, 2009, 12:36 am by kheider

Steve, this is great! Having LB-0001 do some real astronomy will help the site earn respect from the larger observatories.
2: Posted October 6, 2009, 5:58 am by hsipes

Excellent! As I am new to Asteroid hunting, I have taken on observing Asteroids as my project for this semester at SAO. While imaging Melpomene, I ran across at least two or 3 asteroids moving in the same area. They were very faint Asteroids in the 20Mag range. Good Hunting Steve!
3: Posted October 8, 2009, 6:54 am by cnorris

I am not surprised that LB-001 can do excellent science. I can regularly measure V magnitudes for 16.5m variables with a 60 second unguided exposure. Beautiful instrument!
4: Posted October 13, 2009, 2:57 am by amacica

Steve, Thankyou for sharing your work on the Asteroids. Your timing was right for me. Recently I successfully imaged Eris using LB0004. I always data mine my images. In the Eris imaging sessions I noticed at least two objects moving slowly in the field of view. I loaded the MCCORB database into TheSky. I located at the coordinates I used for Eris and turned the clock back to the 9/26/09 and 9/27/09 times when I imaged Eris. Under "Comets and Minor Planets" dialog, "Extended Minor Planets" tab I performed a "compute". When I did I saw minor planets appear in the FOV. After careful examination I determined that two asteroids were visble on both nights. They are (1048) Feodosia and (47387) 1000 XF 103. Thankyou for rekindling my interest in this area.

You need to be logged in to submit a comment