Observation Summary Page
(This page last updated on May 8, 2003)

Note: This information is a summary for the number of observations (astrometric positions) submitted to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) on a yearly basis.

Year 2001 to date

Reports sent to MPC..................... 178
Main belt asteroid positions.......... 1935

* NEO positions................................. 552
** NEO confirmations.......................... 126 (incl. 5 comets)

Main belt asteroids discovered....... 28

* Details of all Near Earth Objects (NEOobservations are publicly available at the NEODys site in Torino, Italy, and can be viewed here.
** NEO confirmation observations made by Badlands Observatory can be viewed at the MPC site at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and can be viewed here.

Other Notable Observations

First Light was achieved at Badlands Observatory. Several members of the Black Hills Astronomical Society, as well as several friends, were present. Everything worked...but, nothing worked perfectly! :-)

First CCD image taken at Badlands Observatory. The object chosen was the famous globular star cluster M-13, located in the constellation Hercules.

Asteroid 304 Olga was successfully observed, with 3 astrometric positions being submitted to the MPC. These measurements resulted in Badlands Observatory being issued the official MPC Site Code 918, which meant that future observations could be sent...and accepted.

09/27/00 & 11/03/00
A 7 1/2 hour observing run was made on newly-discovered binary asteroid 2000 DP107.   A binary asteroid is actually two close objects that are bound in orbit around a common center of gravity.  Sixty five images were taken and then turned over to Rapid City High School student Kristen Kirsch. She took an additional set of 74 images on 11/03/00. All the images were measured by her in order to determine the change in photometric brightness and, therefore, help determine the rotation period characteristics of the system.  This work was performed in order to fulfill requirements for her high school Senior physics project. Her finished project, entitled "Rotational Dynamics of Binary Asteroid 2000 DP107", was then entered in the High Plains Regional Science Fair, held at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  In the Senior Division, her project was awarded 1st Place in the Physical Science/Space Engineering category, and placed 3rd in the overall competition...which meant that her project qualified as 1st Alternate for the International Science Fair, held in San Jose, California.  There were more than 350 projects entered from western South Dakota and adjoining states. CONGRATULATIONS KRISTEN!  As an interesting side note, her data has been found to be useful to Dr. Petr Pravec of Ondrejov Observatory, located in the Czech Republic. Her work may be included as part of his expanded study of this interesting object.

Astrometric positions were determined for newly-discovered NEO’s, 2000 UG11, and 2000 UK11 at the request of astronomers from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. They needed updated positional measurements for these objects in order to perform radio bounce experiments with the giant radio telescopes at both Arecibo, and Goldstone, Ca. Badlands Observatory contributed half of the last minute positional data for 2000 UK11. The experiments were successful, and appreciation was expressed from Jon Giorgini of the Arecibo Observatory.

12/03/00 & 12/04/00
A total of 177 images were taken of asteroid 4183 Cuno. This was in support of a request by Dr. Petr Pravec (Ondrejov Observatory). The purpose was to perform light curve analysis, in preparation for a radar experiment to be conducted at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The radar experiment was successfully performed, and Dr. Pravec’s analysis is now being finalized for publication. Photometric measurements made at Badlands Observatory (along with several others) are being credited as part of this work. Current status of the analysis can be viewed here.

01/25/01 & 01/27/01
Three main belt asteroids were discovered by Badlands Observatory. Located within the constellation Gemini, they were given the MPC designations 2001 BE42, 2001 BF42, and 2001 BG42. These are the first discoveries credited to Badlands Observatory...hopefully, many more will follow. 

During a routine search pattern, a rather significant observation was made.   Within field #10, of 15 adjacent search fields, an unknown asteroid was detected. The position of this object was measured and given the temporary Badlands Observatory designation BO515f. The next morning the MPC notified Ron Dyvig that he may have found asteroid 1987 QB. This asteroid is an NEO, and had been lost since 1987. The MPC decided to place it on the NEO Confirmation Page, in order to ensure getting a 2nd night observation on it for verification. The 2nd night was cloudy at Badlands Observatory, but the object was successfully imaged again at Tenagra II Observatory in southern Arizona. The link to 1987 QB was confirmed, and the lost asteroid was declared a "rediscovery" by Gareth Williams of the MPC. It was classified as a "rediscovery", rather than a "recovery", because the detection was accidental, and did not result from a targeted search strategy.  Badlands Observatory received many positive comments from other observers and scientists within the asteroid community. The statistical odds of accidentally finding this object with a narrow field instrument, such as the telescope at Badlands Observatory, is VERY remote...to say the least! This observation occurred almost exactly one year after "First Light" at Badlands Observatory...a very nice anniversary present!

Badlands Observatory was able to provide follow-up confirmation of a new comet that had been recently discovered on Palomar Mountain by the Near Earth Asteroid Telescope (NEAT). As an interesting side note, this is the 48" Schmidt telescope that was originally used for the famous Palomar Sky Survey back in the 1950's. It has now been converted for CCD use, and is involved in the search for NEO's. The newly-discovered comet had been placed as a target object on the NEO Confirmation page, presumably to verify that it was, in fact, cometary in nature. When Ron Dyvig imaged the object in order to get astrometric positions for it, he independently noticed that it had a definite fuzzy cometary appearance, and therefore indicated this fact along with his report sent to the MPC. This was a difficult observation to make, since the comet was a very faint 19.7 R magnitude. The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory of Canada (72" telescope) was the only other observatory to provide additional confirming positions for this new comet, now named Comet C/2001 M10 (NEAT).

Back to Scientific Work at Badlands Observatory page