Highland Road Park Observatory

Asteroid Work

The first serious astronomical work we have engaged in at the Observatory is a program of asteroid astrometry and asteroid discovery. There are 579,000+ known asteroids. Over 300,000 have been given official number designations and the remainder have orbits that are not known well enough to be given an official number designation. Precise astrometry (position measurement) of the numbered and un-numbered asteroids is needed to improve the predicted orbits of these asteroids. Some of the benefits of improving the orbital predictions of asteroids include:

  • Prediction of future asteroid impacts with the earth.
  • Prediction of occultations of stars by asteroids. Occultations allow asteroid shapes and sizes to be determined.
  • Better understanding of the dynamics and formation of the solar system.
  • Improved selection of and trajectories toward asteroids by space probes.

The 20" telescope and CCD camera are capable of reaching below 18th magnitude which puts a good portion of the 455,000+ known asteroids within its reach, including a very large number of those with uncertain orbits. This is a field where the Observatory can make a real contribution.

We have been using the Observatory since May of 1998 to image asteroids. The images are made over a period of an hour to several hours. Then the positions are measured to arc-second accuracy and sent to the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard. After our first astrometry report was accepted and judged accurate by the Minor Planet Center, we were designated observatory #747.

The Observatory has also been used to discover fifty-five new asteroids! These are:

Designation Constellation Discoverer Date of discovery
11739 Baton Rouge (1998 SG27) Aquarius Walt Cooney / Matt Collier September 24th, 1998
44370 1998 SK35 Aquarius Walt Cooney / Katrina Wefel September 26th, 1998
85708 1998 SL35 Aquarius Walt Cooney / Katrina Wefel September 26th, 1998
20756 2000 BC19 (1998 UD15)* Aquarius Walt Cooney / Colleen Myers October 23rd, 1998
85805 1998 WS6 Taurus Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 23rd, 1998
306444 1998 WT6 Taurus Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 23rd, 1998
164761 1998 WU6 Taurus Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 23rd, 1998
97625 2000 EC121 (1998 WV6)* Taurus Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 23rd, 1998
49349 1998 WW6 Taurus Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 23rd, 1998
49350 Katheynix (1998 WQ8) Taurus Walt Cooney November 26th, 1998
47045 Seandaniel (1998 WK9) Taurus Walt Cooney November 28th, 1998
71586 2000 DV66 (1998 YJ)* Taurus Walt Cooney December 15th, 1998
64023 2001 SO157 (1998 YK)* Canis Minor Walt Cooney December 15th, 1998
17293 2743 P-L (1998 YL)* Leo Walt Cooney December 15th, 1998
79867 1998 YO1 Taurus Matt Collier / Geoff Burks December 16th, 1998
49454 1998 YH22 Canis Minor Walt Cooney / Terry Martin December 29th, 1998
20430 Stout (1999 AC3) Gemini Walt Cooney / Susannah Lazar January 9th, 1999
15343 1994 PB1 (1999 AD3)* Gemini Walt Cooney / Susannah Lazar January 9th, 1999
59172 1999 AE3 Cancer Walt Cooney January 9th, 1999
20140 Costitx (1996 QT1 [1999 BR12])* Cancer Walt Cooney / Katrina Wefel January 18th, 1999
15072 Landolt (1999 BS12) Cancer Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl January 24th, 1999
74439 Brenden (1999 CT2) Cancer Walt Cooney / Ethan Kandler February 5th, 1999
79912 Terrell (1999 CC3) Cancer Walt Cooney / Ethan Kandler February 9th, 1999
85878 Guzik (1999 CF8) Cancer Walt Cooney / Ethan Kandler February 12th, 1999
162158 Merrillhess (1999 CZ9) Gemini Walt Cooney / Ethan Kandler February 14th, 1999
91239 1999 CA10 Virgo Matt Collier February 14th, 1999
101722 Pursell (1999 EX4) Virgo Walt Cooney March 9th, 1999
166000 2002 AO47 (1999 FC)* Virgo Walt Cooney March 15th, 1999
53256 Sinitiere (1999 FD) Virgo Walt Cooney March 15th, 1999
52647 1997 YD4 (1999 FE)* Virgo Walt Cooney March 15th, 1999
53257 1999 FF Virgo Walt Cooney March 15th, 1999
101777 1999 GF4 Virgo Walt Cooney / Meredith Howard April 12th, 1999
66399 1999 LH Ophiuchus Walt Cooney / Merrill Hess June 4th, 1999
64972 2002 AT9 (1999 OA1)* Capricornus Walt Cooney / Merrill Hess July 16th, 1999
121206 1999 PO3 Aquarius Walt Cooney August 12th, 1999
41838 2000 WK59 (1999 PG6)* Aquarius Walt Cooney / Merrill Hess August 13th, 1999
121543 1999 VG1 Aries Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 2nd, 1999
306501 1999 VH1 Aries Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 2nd, 1999
121544 1999 VJ1 Aries Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 2nd, 1999
70723 1999 VK1 Aries Walt Cooney / Patrick Motl November 2nd, 1999
60177 1999 VU6 Aries Walt Cooney November 7th, 1999
350491 1999 VW8 Aries Walt Cooney November 8th, 1999
43083 Frankconrad (1999 WR) Aries Walt Cooney November 18th, 1999
16107 Chanmugam (1999 WQ2) Aries Walt Cooney November 26th, 1999
66946 1999 XT1 Aries Walt Cooney December 2nd, 1999
75249 1999 XU1 Aries Walt Cooney December 2nd, 1999
103221 1999 YC5 Cancer Walt Cooney December 28th, 1999
103222 1999 YD5 Cancer Walt Cooney December 28th, 1999
80698 2000 CH1 Leo Walt Cooney February 3rd, 2000
69934 1998 US13 (2000 CG33)* Leo Walt Cooney / Dave Thomas February 4th, 2000
213127 2000 DP3 Cancer Walt Cooney February 27th, 2000
122067 2000 HJ5 Libra Walt Cooney April 26th, 2000
81531 2000 HK14 Libra Walt Cooney / Merrill Hess April 28th, 2000
155680 2000 JU10 Libra Walt Cooney May 8th, 2000
55215 2001 RG54 (2000 KR5)* Libra Walt Cooney / Merrill Hess May 26th, 2000

*These asteroids have been either considered "lost," and then redesignated when rediscovered, or have been traced back to an earlier, more complete discovery. The designations in parenthesis or brackets are the ones originally given to the observatory.

You may get ephemerides for any or all of the 1998, 1999, or 2000 asteroid discoveries from the linked pages.

For a visual reference of the new asteroids locations, please visit this page.

Chart showing relative positions of the first 3 new asteroids Chart showing distances of the planets from the sun

Chart reprinted here courtesy of The Advocate.

To date we have submitted over 1700 astrometric measurements of 246 different asteroids including the 55 discoveries listed above. The other asteroids we have contributed astrometric measurements on are listed on this page.


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Last updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 1:01:04 PM.