Applying a Comprehensive, High-precision Catalog to Asteroid Light Curves (Abstract)

Volume 48 number 2 (2020)

Eric Dose
New Mexico Mira Project, 3167 San Mateo Boulevars NE, #329, Albuquerque, NM 87110;


(Abstract only) The recently published ATLAS Reference Catalog 2 contains Gaia astrometry, including proper motions and neighboring-star flags, as well as high-precision photometric data, cross-calibrated over the entire sky, on 105 million stars to 16th magnitude. In the present approach to asteroid light curve generation from raw images, we gather all ATLAS comparison star candidates within a telescope’s field of view, then automatically screen them for: magnitude range, magnitude uncertainty, color range, and absence of neighboring stars. The implementing software generates simple statistical plots to help the observer identify and optionally exclude: outlier comp stars, outlier individual comp observations, image-to-image zero-point fluctuations, and comp stars suspected of variability. This approach uses every fully qualified comp star in the asteroid’s field of view—these typically number 30–80. The approach is rapid and so far has yielded light curves of high quality and has eliminated most need to adjust nightly zero-points.