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Optimizing asteroid orbit computation for Gaia with normal points
Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland;Nordic Optical Telescope, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain .
Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland;Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Masala, Finland.
Observatoire Royal de Belgique,Bruxelles, Belgium.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5624-1888
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2018 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 620, article id A101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. In addition to the systematic observations of known solar-system objects (SSOs), a continuous processing of new discoveries requiring fast responses is implemented as the short-term processing of Gaia SSO observations, providing alerts for ground-based follow-up observers. The common independent observation approach for the purposes of orbit computation has led to unrealistically large ephemeris prediction uncertainties when processing real Gaia data. Aims. We aim to provide ground-based observers with a cloud of sky positions that is shrunk to a fraction of the previously expected search area by making use of the characteristic features of Gaia astrometry. This enhances the efficiency of Gaia SSO follow-up network and leads to an increased rate of asteroid discoveries with reasonably constrained orbits with the help of ground-based follow-up observations of Gaia asteroids. Methods. We took advantage of the separation of positional errors of Gaia S SO observations into a random and systematic component. We treated the Gaia observations in an alternative way by collapsing up to ten observations that correspond to a single transit into a single so-called normal point. We implemented this input procedure in the Gaia S SO short-term processing pipeline and the OpenOrb software. Results. We validate our approach by performing extensive comparisons between the independent observation and normal point input methods and compare them to the observed positions of previously known asteroids. The new approach reduces the ephemeris uncertainty by a factor of between three and ten compared to the situation where each point is treated as a separate observation. Conclusions. Our new data treatment improves the sky prediction for the Gaia SSO observations by removing low-weight orbital solutions. These solutions originate from excessive curvature of observations, introduced by short-term variations of Gaia attitude on the one hand, and, as a main effect, shrinking of systematic error bars in the independent observation case on the other hand. We anticipate that a similar approach may also be utilized in a situation where observations from a single observatory dominate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EDP Sciences, 2018. Vol. 620, article id A101
Keywords [en]
astrometry, celestial mechanics, minor planets, asteroids
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Onboard space systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-72762DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833197ISI: 000452469300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85058167312OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-72762DiVA, id: diva2:1284695
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-02-01 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-02-01 Created: 2019-02-01 Last updated: 2019-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Granvik, Mikael

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