Asteroid work at JATE University (not updated)

The asteroid-related work begun in 1996 with observing a few moderate brightness minor planets in order to obtain their accurate positions and to measure the light variation. Since then there has been a constant growth in this field. We briefly summarize the main directions in the minor planet studies carried out at Department of Experimental Physics, JATE University.


Two telescopes at two observatories are used for observing minor planets. There are two purposes of these observations, namely to obtain accurate astrometric and photometric properties. Firstly, we follow poorly observed asteroids which has ambiguous orbital elements, where even a few precise positions could significantly improve that elements. Secondly, we do photometric observations in order to determine the rotational properties and to model them (see Theoretical work below).
   We use two telescopes at two observatories. The smaller one - located in Szeged - is a 28 cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (C-11) equipped with an ST-6 CCD camera supplied with standard UBVRI filters. The other regularly used telescope is a 60/90/180 cm Schmidt telescope at Piszkéstető Station of the Konkoly Observatory which is equipped with a Photometrics (KAF-1600) CCD. While the C-11 is used for observing moderately bright asteroids (13-16 mag for astrometry, 10-13 mag for photometry), we observe fainter minor planets with the Schmidt telescope (16-21 mag for astrometry, 14-17 mag for photometry).
    As a by product we have discovered more than 90 new asteroids at Piszkéstető Station and 15 of them have provisional designations. Here we show a few sample lightcurves which were taken during 1997-1998. An animation (4 Mb!!!) on the motion and brightness variation of minor planet 1865 Cerberus is also available.

The photometric data of asteroids are available.


The theoretical studies are addressed to modelling the rotation in minor planets using long- term photometric observations. We have developed a new method which uses the virtual variations of the "light extrema shifting" (O-C diagram) due to the different geocentric positions. This new method gives unambiguously the sense of rotation which remains a free parameter in the previous models. We plan to extend this direction to the direct shape determination from the observed lightcurves.


We plan to extend the photometric observations to the Troian Group and the Near-Earth Objects in order to study the rotational properties in this specific groups. With bigger telescopes and under better observational circumstances we would like to observe the brightest members of the Kuiper Belt.


      - László L. Kiss, Dept. of Exp. Phys. - project leader
      - Gyula Szabó, undergraduate student of physics - photometry and theoretical work
      - Krisztián Sárneczky, undergraduate student of geography - astrometry and discoveries
        + a few other undergraduates with lower activity.


1. Szabó Gy., Sárneczky K., Kiss L.L. 1998. The O-C - geocentric longitude diagrams of minor planets. A new approach in rotation modelling, Icarus, submitted

2. Sárneczky K., Szabó Gy., Kiss L.L. 1998. CCD observations of 11 faint asteroids, A&A Suppl. Ser., submitted

3. Michalowski T., Kwiatkowski T., Kryszczynska A., Pych W., Szabó Gy., Velichko F.P., Denchev P., Erikson A., Fauvaud S., Renou A. 1998. CCD photometry and models of selected asteroids, A&A, in prep.

4. Szabó Gy. 1998. CCD observations of minor planet 73 Klytia, Acta Physica Polonica A, 93, S-23

5. Szabó Gy., Sárneczky K., Kiss L.L. 1998. The O-C - geocentric longitude diagrams of minor planets. A new approach in rotation modelling, poster on IAU Coll. 173, "Evolution and Source Regions of Asteroids and Comets", Tatranska Lomnica, Slovakia, proc. in Contrib. Astron. Obs. Skalnat‚ Pleso, in press

6. Kereszturi Á., Sárneczky K. 1998. Kisbolygók a naprendszer peremén, Meteor Csillagászati Évkönyv 1999, MCSE, Budapest

7. Sárneczky K., Kiss L. 1998. Asztrometria, Meteor, 1998/3, 10-15.

8. Szabó Gy. 1998. Kisbolygó-fotometria, Meteor, 1998/4, 21-24.

9. Ticha J., Tichy M., Moravec Z., Kornos L., Yan H. J., Ma C. M., Chen Y. J., Li X. Y., Alday A., Moore K., Tranilla M., Coggia T., Sylva A., Fricke G., Imada K., Africano J., Sydney P., Nishimoto D., O'Connell D., Kervin P., Kraszewski B., Soo Hoo V., Casarramona F., Kiss L.L., Sárneczky K., Rogers J. E., Shelus P. J., Holvorcem P. R., Williams G. V. 1997. 1997 CZ5, Minor Planet Electronic Circular, 1997-D01

10. Sárneczky K., Kiss L.L., Offut W., Marsden B.G. 1998. 1997 CX5, Minor Planet Electronic Circular, 1998-X02

11. Ticha J., Tichy M., Moravec Z., Sposetti S., Kitamura Y., Hotta M., Asami A., Nakamura A., Seki T., Sugie A., Pognant P., Merlin J.C., Merlin D., Merlin G., Meyer E., Obermair E., Sárneczky K., Kiss L.L., Koff R.A., Elliott R., Griffin I.P., Kowalski R.A., Ikari Y., Mackey J., Marsden B.G. 1998. Comet C/1998 U5 (LINEAR), Minor Planet Electronic Circular, 1998-W45