The Watch...An Asteroid Research and Detection Project
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comet nucleus
Minor Planet Center – $5,000

To continue the excellent work performed by the Minor Planet Center, The Watch provided $5000 in 2000 for the purchase of the CCD camera ST-8E. This camera is attached to a 50/70cm Schmidt telescope (f/3.44), one of three telescopes at the Bulgarian National Observatory-Rozhen.

Observations with this instrument were carried out primarily for the purpose of three scientific projects.

1. Investigation of the small bodies of the Solar system.
2. Investigation of nonstationary objects in stellar aggregates.
3. Photometry of stellar aggregates in the Milky Way and galaxies of the Local Group.

The Solar System department has 7 observational nights every month.

Between July and December 2000, 499 positions of 80 NEOs and 34 positions of 6 comets were taken. The observations made are primarily "follow up" because of their importance and taking into account the field of view of the system "telescope + CCD". The results were published in MPC and some of them were used in orbital determinations. Light curves of several asteroids were also obtained.

A student group from Varna People Observatory has used CCD camera for imaging of the Comet S4 LINEAR, some Messier catalogue objects and Lunar craters. Magister Gordana Apostolovska from Skopje University, Macedonia also participates in observations. Observations with CCD ST-8E continue every month.

Comet artwork by Pat Rawlings, courtesy NASA.

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