Asteroid 1999XN37, aka (J99X37N), aka Doyanrose

1999XN37 (Doyanrose) - was discovered December 7th 1999 from my observatory, which at the time consisted of a 10" LX200/ST-8 combo set up in my backyard. I was troubleshooting a tracking issue with the telescope and was doing periodic slews to the bright star (Zeta Persei) which is overexposed in the images. The asteroid is just to the right of the arrow.





1. One of these days, humanity will be traveling through the asteroid belt (asteroids are largely found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter although there are notable exceptions, see #4 below). When that time comes it'll be nice to know the orbit of each and every one of them, as well as their composition. They may be a source of material that could make the life of an interplanetary traveler easier (water, or some minerals that may be of use in rocket fuel).

While a chance collision between an asteroid and a spacecraft is unlikely, it would mean the loss of the spacecraft and whatever (or whomever) happened to be onboard.

2. Asteroids can give us an insight into the history of the solar system. All the large bodies (planets) have been altered over time. Asteroids are probably as close as we can get to examining remnants of the early solar system.

3. Life on Earth began somehow. Did an asteroid impact deliver the necessary organics to begin the process? Did an asteroid impact take the dinosaurs out of play, giving early humans a chance to thrive?

4. They do, on occasion (like October 7th, 2008) hit the earth. See:

5. Of all the trouble that Mother Nature can cause us, an asteroid impact is probably the only naturally occurring event than can seriously setback life on earth, and which is also avoidable given enough advanced warning.

The discoverer of a minor planet has the privilege of naming the body (more accurately, the discoverer has the privilege of proposing a name). I chose to honor my mother by suggesting her first and middle names, thus 'Doyan Rose'.

The 'Discovery Circumstances' portion of the JPL Small-Body Database Browser entry for Doyanrose. The JPL website is at:


Minor Planet lightcurve work

174 Phaedra

I've been working on minor planet lightcurves nine years now.. Minor planet lightcurve work is an attempt to learn more about the physical characteristics of minor plantes by observing and analyzing their change in brightness over time. My first effort along these lines were concentrated on Minor Planet 174 Phaedra.

'Phaedra', by Alexandre Cabanel



A BRIEF ASIDE: Minor Planet 174 Phaedra was discovered September 2nd, 1877, by J.C. Watson at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Phaedra is a character from Greek mythology.

It is usually the prerogative of the discover to name a minor planet, but I've not yet come across any citation that Watson chose the name.



BACK TO REALITY - I collected roughly 600 images over five nights in November 2008 (the 4th, 18th, 19th 22nd and 28th UT) using a 12" f/10 SCT with a focal reducer, making the effective focal length about 73" (f/6). The camera was an SBIG ST-9 operating unbinned, resulting in an image scale of 2.2 arc-seconds/pixel, and all observations were 60 seconds long, unfiltered. When a suitable guide star was available, a SBIG AO-8 adaptive optics unit was utilized. The images were acquired and reduced with master flat field, dark and bias frames using CCDSoft. All images were then ran through CCD INSPECTOR, and those that had an aspect ratio of more than 50% (a result of image training due to either periodic error in the mount or wind pushing the telescope) were rejected (458 images were saved and used). Photometry and lightcurve analysis was down with CANOPUS.

Lightcurve of minor planet 174 Phaedrac


RESULTS: Marrying up this data with that of P.V. Sada (Universidad de Monterrey) and W. Cooney (Blackberry Observatory) it's in good agreement that 174 Phaedra has a rotation period of 5.75 hours.

I've passed these results along to Brian Warner (Palmer Divide Observatory). He'll be doing some spin-shape modeling and possibly publishing the results in THE MINOR PLANET OBSERVER some day.

Back to the top

343 Ostara

Max WolfDiscovered November 15, 1892 by the prolific Max Wolf (University of Heidelberg, pictured left). Wolf pioneered the use of the astrographic techniques (i.e., taking pictures) to automate the discovery of asteroids. He named his first discovery Brucia, after the American philanthropist Catherine Bruce who gave Wolf $10,000 to build the telescope (known as the Bruce Double-Astrograph, photo by Rivi) with which he made many discoveries. I can't find a photo of Ms. Bruce that's in the public domain, otherwise she would be here too.The Bruce Double-Astrograph

(343) Ostara was named after the early Norse goddess of Spring. The Easter rabbit was the escort of Ostara who contributed to the name Easter. In German it's "Ostern".



A lengthy spell of bad weather prevented acquiring more than two sessions (2.7 and 3.1 hour sessions respectively). Only descending branches of the lightcurve were observed. If the lightcurve is bimodal, it seems likely that the period would be considerably longer than the 6.42 h published by Binzel (1987). Dr. George Stecher (University of Wisconsin, private communication), who was also observing this object at about the same time, independently reached this same conclusion. The plot below 'forces' the date to a period of 13 hours, but that is only one of many possible solutions.

UPDATE - R. Stephens came up with a period of 109.87 hours (quality code 3-) in 2009.

Lightcurve of minor planet 343 Ostara















Back to the top

129 Antigone

"Antigone" by Frederic LeightonANTIGONE is the daughter of the mythological incestuous relationship between King Oedipus and Jocasta. There is also another Antigone (the daughter of Eurytion), but the discoverer of 129 Antigone states in the name citation that it is the "daughter of Oedipus" that he is referring to. The name citation mentions that "she guided her father when he was blind and exiled by her uncle Creon". Announcement  of a minor planet disovery.

129 Antigone was discovered February 5th, 1873 by C.H.F. Peters of the Litchfield Observatory at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Peters discovered 48 asteroids in his career, all of them visually (astrophotography was in its infancy then).





Five nights of observations in January of 2009 are presented in the lightcurve below. My results show a synodic period of 4.9567 hours, while the published literature gives 4.9572...very close agreement.

Lightcureve of minor planet 129 Antigone


Back to the top

232 Russia - (completed 5 March 2009)

Named, according to the citation, after "the former empire in eastern Europe and northern Asia which is nearly coextensive with the present U.S.S.R." Of course the current Russia is the old U.S.S.R. minus many of its former 'republics'.

John Palisa, the most successful visual discoverer of asteroids, found 232 Russia on January 31st, 1883. Palisa was an Austrian astronomer whose first gigs were as assistant at the University of Vienna Observatory, then as director of the Austrian Naval Observatory in Pola in 1872. At the ANO, he discovered 28 minor planets with a 6" refractor. Being a man who truly loved what he did, he resigned his directorship at ANO and made a move to a subordinate position at the Vienna observatory (photo to the right), accepting less pay (and certainly less prestige) in trade for being able to use Vienna's 27" refractor. At the time it was the world's largest telescope. There he made a further 94 asteroid discoveries.

How I got involved: I was at a dinner party Christmas night of 2008 and somehow got involved in a game of Trivial Pursuit. One of our geography questions was "What is the largest county by land mass". Somehow I had acquired a mistaken reputation of being 'smart' in these matters, and as my team turned towards me with expectant eyes, I blurted out..."China". Sigh. The correct answer is, of course, Russia. Anyway, that got me to wondering if there was a minor planet by that name, and looking into the matter I found that there was, but that there was only a partial lightcurve done at Geneva Observatory in Switzerland. Indeed, the Minor Planet Center doesn't list any data for 232 Russia, so it seemed like a worthwhile target.

I stand corrected (16 Feb 2009): Turns out that upon further review of the literature, I see that Torno, Oilver and Ditteon of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN did some work on 232 Russia in October of 2007. In an article in The Minor Planet Bulletin (April - June 2008 issue) they state that theirs may "be the first reported observations of the period of...233 Russia". Possibly the Geneva Observatory may have beaten them to that punch, but my goal is to complete the first full-coverage observations of 232 Russia.

232 Russia will be a bit difficult, as its period seems to be around 25 hours. Since earth rotates every 24 hours, we're only one hour 'out-of-sync' with 232 Russia. Fortunately, I'm in no hurry. I should have a preliminary light curve soon.

Update: March 5th...Russia is complete. Period 21.9 hours, P.E. 0.0100, 693 data points over 11 observing runs.


Back to the top


291 Alice - (completed 22 March 2009)

A member of the Flora 'family' of main-belt asteroids, 291 Alice is listed as a 'spin and shape modeling' target of opportunity in the Minor Planet Bulletin 36-1. It's published light curve data from Lagerkvist (1975), Kryszczynska (1996/2008), Piironen (1998), and Oey (2006) indicate a synodic period of roughly 4.32 hours.

My observational goal for 291 Alice is to obtain a sufficient quality and quantity of data to support spin and shape modeling. V-band observations are planned.

The Flora family of asteroids comprises about 5% of all known main belt asteroids. The largest member of the family is 8 Flora, a 140 kilometer (87 miles) diameter body that accounts for about 80% of the total family mass. Second largest is 43 Ariadne, with the remaining family members being fairly small. 291 Alice is about 15 kilometers (9 miles) in diameter.

291 Alice was discovered April 25th of 1890 by J. Palisa at Vienna (see 232 Russia above for details, same discoverer and location).

In the Fourth Edition of the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (Schmadel, 1999) there are listed 122 minor planet names with 'unknown meaning' i.e. the naming citation didn't give an explanation for who, what or why the name was chosen. 291 Alice is one of them. To we Americans the feminine first name likely comes to mind, but Schmadel does point out that 291 Alice was named by the Societe Astronomique de France 'at the gracious invitation of the discoverer'. So we have a German making the discovery and a French committee choosing a name (given that fact alone it would probably be wise to throw in the towel on figuring this out, but if you've read this far you are a bit on the bored side anyway, so let's continue...). The original form of the name is Adalheidis (German). 'Alice' is from the Old French name Alis, which was a short form of Adelais, which came from the German Adalheidis just mentioned. The mystery to me is why the form 'Alice' would be chosen with all these more earthy choices were available.

What's not a mystery is (again, citing the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Fourth Edition) that of the 122 minor planet names with unknown meaning, 108 of those were discovered and/or named by either the Germans/Austrians (Osterreichers forgive me!) or the French, both or who are responsible for about 10% of all minor planet discoveries as of 1999. Ten percent of the total discoveries, yet 88% of the 'unknown meaning' names. Schmadel doesn't speculate on this lopsided affair (and probably neither should I).

RESULTS: A four session observing run was conducted during the period March 13 to 22, 2009. The last two sessions were ‘split’ over one night to negate the ‘meridian flip’ problem addressed by Miles and Warner (2009) in The Minor Planet Bulletin. The period found was 4.32 ± 0.02 h, consistent with all previously published results (e.g., Binzel and Mulholland, 1983).

Back to the top

1940 GO (5153) - Gireasch (abandoned 23 April 2009)

No long-winded epistle about the name of this asteroid since, technically, it has no name. Apparently a name citation has never been offered up for it. Y. Väisälä at Turku (Finland) discovered it on April 9th, 1940.

UPDATE - 1940 GO finally has a name, "Gireasch". The citation reads..."5153 Gierasch Discovered 1940 Apr. 9 by Y. Vaisala at Turku.
Peter J. Gierasch (b. 1940) has solved fundamental problems in atmospheric dynamics for Mars, Jupiter and, via the Gierasch mechanism, Venus. He co-founded Cornell University's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research and won the 2014 Kuiper Prize for contributions to planetary science."

The five nights of observations I was able to obtain reveal an unusual shaped lightcurve since there appears to be only one minimum. Is the other minimum lost in the noisy data? Could be. The asteroid is past the point where I can effectively observe it, so it now goes onto the long list of object to revisit in the future. While the plot shows a period of 7 hours, that could be completely wrong.


Back to the top


397 Vienna - (completed 18 September 2009)

Discovered December 19 1894 by Auguste Charlois at Nice (Charlois 1896), 397 Vienna was his 20th asteroid discovery. He would go on to discover seventy-nine more. Out of his 99 discoveries, thirty have names that can’t be reconciled with any know person or occurrence (Schmadel 1999). The subject of this study falls into the category of “the unknowns”. Vienna is one of the 34 discoveries of Charlois that were named by J. Bauschinger, the Director of the Astronomisches Rechen-Insitiut. Apparently Charlois let the ARI suggest names for these 34, whether he gave final approval of the names is not clear.

Only one lightcurve has been published (Harris and Young, 1983, Icarus 54, 59-109). My objectives in observing are twofold, 1) to confirm the 15.48 hour period published by Harris and Young, and 2) obtain data that will be useful in the future for spin-shape modeling.

RESULTS: With nearly 100% coverage, the synodic period looks to be 15.45 hours, plus or minus 0.05 hours. This is in good agreement with the 15.48 hours previously reported (see paragraph above).



Back to the top


2500 Alascattalo (completed 22 May 2010)


Junda Liu of Jiangsu Province, P.R. China, observed it in December of 2015, and Behrend of the Observatoire de Geneve did the same in 2013. Liu came up with a periond of 2.751 hours using 404 data points. My observations revealed a suspected period of 2.9 hours, but with only 28 data points. 2500 Alascattalo is a Flora family asterod, WISE gives it a diameter of 7.9 km.

Back to the top

1498 Lahti (completed 17 December 2010 - observed during October 2009)

I observed 1498 Lahti in October of 2009, then "lost" the observations on a crashed hard drive. I finally got around to extracting the data in December 2010. Bad weather set in, making the observing run too short to draw any reasonable conclusions about the rotation period. The period shown below is just one of many possible solutions. I've not found any previously published lightcurve results on this object.

Back to the top

990 Yerkes (completed 15 December 2009)


Named and discovered by G. Van Biesbroeck from The Yerkes Observatory at Williams Bay, Wisconsin. There is no published rotation data concerning this object that I've been able to find.

RESULTS: The data is noisy, but with nearly 100% coverage. Synodic period looks to be 24.45 hours, plus or minus 0.05 hours, but 16.20 hours can't be ruled out.

Back to the top

4156 Okadanoboru (abandoned 15 January 2010)

Noboru Okada was a Japanese amateur astronomer, photographer and mountain climber. He was involved with installing a 0.5m-telescope near Yatsugatake mountain. In January of 2002, he disappeared while climbing alone in the Hida mountain range in central Japan. Asteroid 4156 Okadanoboru was discovered by T. Kojima at the YCGO Chiyoda observatory (YCGO=Yamaneko Group of Comet Observers) on January 16th, 1988.

I've not really been able to figure out what rule the Minor Planet Center uses when deciding to put a space in a name. Anne Franke (5535 Annefrank), yes THAT Anne Frank, didn't get her "space", but Olaus Magnus (2454 Olaus Magnus) got his. So did the fictional James Bond (9007 James Bond). Doyan Rose (45073 Doyanrose) didn't get a space either. Not for want of trying. After submitting the name as it is properly spelt, i.e. "Doyan Rose", the Small Body Naming Committee took out the space and demoted the big "R" to a little "r". My immediate and repeated protests were answered with, in effect, "Sorry, that's how we do things". And indeed it is. We have to be careful how we parcel out spaces after all.

I have not seen the naming citation for 4156 Okadanobor, but given the gentlemen's first name was Noboru and the first and last names are inverted and missing the space, well, hard to say what is up. I'll dig up the naming citation one of these cloudy nights and see what the deal is. In the meantime, I'll be trying to get a handle on its rotation period.

UPDATE 15 January 2010 - time to throw the towel in on this one. The usual patter of winter weather (clouds, punctuated by more clouds) has granted few opportunities to gather a sufficent amount of data. Earth is now pulling well ahead of it, and as the distance between the asteroid and us increases, it gets fainter.


Back to the top

1317 Silvretta (completed 15 January 2010)

Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Koenigstuhl1317 Silvretta became a target of opportunity one night when Okadanoboru (see immediately above) was unavailable due to the position of the Moon. A quick check of the Lightcurve Data file on the CALL site ( showed a discrepancy in the reported rotation period. Schober ((Schober, H.J.; Schroll, A. (1983) Astron. Astrophys. 120, 106-108.)) published a rotation period of 7.048 h and a quality code of 3. Behrend ( published data in 2009 stating a period of 3.86 hours, but with a quality code of 1+. It seems worthwhile to try and resolve this inconsistency.

1317 Silvretta was discovered on September 1st, 1935 by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth at Heidelberg. The photo at right shows the Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Koenigstuhl, the observatory complex where Reinmuth worked. The dome that is open on the left shows the Bruce double-astrograph, used by Max Wolfe to discover 343 Ostara, as well as hundreds of other minor planets. The name Silvretta refers to a mountain range that spans the Austrian-Swiss border.

RESULTS: If the true lightcurve is bimodal and the period was 3.86 hours, as reported by Behrend, one would expect to see at least all 4 extrema in any observing session longer than 3.86 hours. One of my observing sessions was 5 hours in length, in which only three extrema were seen. Thus, the 3.86 hour period offered by Behrend can be ruled out. The 1983 results of Schober (7.048 hours) fall within the margin of error of mine, 7.07 ± 0.05 hours.

Back to the top

292 Ludovica - (completed 19 April 2010)

292 Ludovica occulted SAO 61409 at 0329 UTC 10 April 2010. This lightcurve is in support of observers who may have drift-scanned or otherwise timed the event. The primary goal of my observing campaign for this object was to determine the rotation phase at occultation time.

Back to the top

567 Eleutheria - (completed 21 April 2010)

Minor Planet Bulletin 37-2, page 78, lists 567 Eleutheria as a good observing target due to poorly constrained lightcurve parameters. The current quality code is a 2, and the reported period is 7.7 hours. Observations began on 2010 15 April UT and were completed 6 days later. Synodic period is withing margin of error of previous observers (Higgins, 7.726 hours).

Back to the top

185 Eunike - (completed 10 May 2010, but in revision spring of 2014)

First published lightcurve on this object was done by Debehogne in 1978, period of 10.83 hours was found. Behrend published a period of 24 hours in 2010, but with an uncertanity code of 1. More data might serve for spin/shape determination, as well as to resolve the different published periods. Observations began 28 April 2010 UT and were finished May 10 2010 UT. The best fit I found was 14.56 hours. Turns out the consensus now (late 2015) is 21.812 hours, a multpile of 14.56.

Back to the top

2437 Amnestia - (completed 10 October 2010)

Discovered September 14, 1942 by M. Vaisala at Turku, this Flora family asteroid is named to honor the work of Amnesty International.

The bad news is that only one extrema was captured. The good news is that no tweaking of the delta comp values was done to force a fit. Quality code is a 1 due to lack of coverage. No previously published lightcurve data was found for this object. This appears to be a reasonable fit assuming the truve curve is bimodal.

Back to the top

1663 Van den Bos - (completed 2 November 2010)

Another one of those "hard luck" targets. Despite our amazingly nice fall weather, pointing a telescope at 1663 Van den Bos seemed to be asking for frustration. Interference from moonlight, high clouds and stars cut down on the amount of images that were usable. It does seem clear that it's a very slow rotator even though the period represented in the plot below may be completly wrong.

NOTE ON MAY 1, 2011 - Other observers were working 1663 Van den bos at about the same time as I, and they derived a period of 740 hours. Given that the first three nights of my observations spanned only 72 hours, not even 1/8th of the rotation period, it's easy to see how I wasn't even close.

Back to the top

1080 Orchis - (completed 11 November 2010)

Three hundred and fifty nine data points collected over 8 nights seems to nail the period down to 16.1 hours. I could find no previously published lightcurve data on 1080 Orchis, so had to fit this curve from scratch. No delta comp adjustments larger than 0.07 mag on any particular night were needed to produce this curve. Three out of four extrema were observed (assuming the "real" curve is bimodal), so the result seems fairly secure.

UPDATE - Turns out other observers (Strabla, et al.) had observed Orchis earlier in the year. They came up with 16.06 h, well within the margin of error my my analysis (or vice-versa).

Update on December 19, 2010 - I just received an e-mail from an observer in central Illinois who was observing 1080 Orchis just a few weeks before I was. He has produced a 3-night lightcurve which is highly consistent with mine.


Back to the top

3277 Aaronson - (completed 24 November 2010)

Marc Aaronson (1950-1987) was an American astronomer who died in an accident while observing with the 4-meter Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak Arizona the night of 30 April 1987. Asteroid 3277 Aaronson was discovered by E. Bowell at Lowell Observatory's Anderson Mesa Station on 1984 January 8 and was named in memory of Marc Aaronson.

Due to the faintness of 3277 Aaronson (mag. 14.5) the data obtained was rather noisey, but the 9.8 hour solution plotted below is the best bimodal fit and seems reasonable.

Back to the top

2853 Harvill - (completed 09 December 2010)

Goethe Link Observatory at Brooklyn, Indiana has been the place of discovery of 119 asteroids including 2853 Harvill. Indiana University operated the Indiana Asteroid Program from 1949 until 1967 from Link Observatory. While the primary telescope at Link is a 36-inch reflector (since converted to a cassagrain), all the asteroid discoveries were made with a 10-inch astrograph which was housed in a small roll-off roof shed behind the main observatory building.

The observatory is now owned by Indiana University and operated by the Indiana Astronomical Society. Observing conditions at the site are poor, due to not only the lights of Indianapolis but due to those that live in immediate proximity to the observatory. Many of the neighbors have streetlight type "security" lights that they burn all night, and this dual light pollution severly restricts the usefulness of the observatory.

The 10-inch astrograph met an unfortunate fate. An observer neglected to roll the roof back over the telescope one night, and the astrograph (which was on loan from Cincinnati Observatory) was rained on. As of this writing, I don't know if it's been repaired or replaced.

2853 Harvill's namesake, Richard Harvill (1905-1988), was president of the University of Arizona from 1951 to 1971. He provided significant help to those who were involved in the establishment of Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

There were no previously published lightcurves of 2853 Harvill that I could find. As asteroids go, this was an easy lightcurve because of it's short entire rotation could be observed in one night (although it took me two nights). The period of 6.3 hours seems secure.











Back to the top


3605 Davy - (completed 02 January 2011)

With no previously published lightcurve data that I could find, and being bright enough to provide a decent SNR, 3605 Davy seemed a good candidate for modest apeture photometry. Its quick rotation period made it a short project as well. Multiple rotations were captured each night, lending confidence that the resulting 2.72 h period is robust.

Discovered in 1932 at Uccle Belgium by the Belgian-French astronomer E. Delporte. Delporte was involved in drafting the International Astronomical Union report that defined the boundaries of the 88 constellations we know today. The asteroid is named after Davy DeWinter, son of one of the administrators of the Royal Observatory of Belgium.

Back to the top

3252 Johnny - (completed 02 January 2011)

Observed with the 0.37-meter Classical Cassegrain at Winer Observatory (University of Iowa) near Sonoita Arizona, 3252 Johnny is named after late-night TV icon and amateur astronomer John William "Johnny" Carson. While I didn't find any previously published lightcurve data for it, my rational for choosing it as a target was based more on my desire to get a feel for this telescope and imaging train than it was to produce a complete lightcurve. As it turned out to be a fairly quick rotator, I ended up with enough data to make a lightcurve that's within reason. The curve is pretty thin in spots, but rates a "2+" quality code.

Back to the top

4729 Mikhailmil' - ("completed" 03 January 2011)

The quotation marks around "completed" above summarize my continued uncertatity about the peroid of 4729 Mikhailmil'. There are many possible solutions, and this plot represents the shortest likely period. The simplifying assumptions is that rot_per is greater than or equal to 4 * any observed minima to maxima period, a rule that seems to be valid for asteroids with an amplitude of 0.2 or more (Binzel 1987). Having said that, my plot below seems suspicious. The likliehood that two maxima (at .15 and .3) would coincidentally occur at the beginning of an observation period seems slim.

The next thing approaching a favorable opposition is in early 2018.

Mikhail Leont'evich Mil' (1909-1970) was a Russian helicoptor designer and a contemporary of fellow Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. Sikorsky is also honored with an asteroid, 10090 Sirkorsky. Both were discovered at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory.


Back to the top

45073 Doyanrose - (completed 14 January 2011)

My one-and-only discovery, Flora-family asteroid 45073 Doyanrose was originally first observed at Palomar in 1981. For whatever reason, the orginal observer(s) didn't get a second night on it, so it was considered lost (or possibly "not found") although it did receive provisional designation 1981 UK28. I came across it 19 years later (confirming that serendipity is indeed a wonderful thing).

January 2011 was the first opposition of 45073 Doyanrose that I found myself with the means and knowledge to attempt a lightcurve. But at V=17.7, this wasn't something that was going to happen from my backyard. The observations were made with the 0.5-meter Cassegrain at the Kitt Peak National Observatory's Visitor Center over 2 nights near opposition. No previously published period was found.

Next favorable opposition is December of next year (2017).


Back to the top

1786 Raahe - (completed 9 October 2011)

It felt like a world record to have 7 clear nights in a row!

In 1948 Raahe was discovered at Turku (in southern Finland) by H. Alikoski. Raahe is a town on the Gulf of Bothnia in Finland.


Back to the top

1115 Sabauda- (completed 15 May 2012)

Pretty much in agreement with previous observers, the official period is 6.75 hours.

Discovered 13 December 1928 by L. Volta at Pino Torinese in northwestern Italy. Sabauda is the Latin name for the House of Savoy, the former rulers of Italy.


Back to the top

1554 Yugoslavia - (completed 9 October 2012)

The summer of 2012 had us in record-setting heat, causing no end to mechanical difficulties with the telescope. Worst was my employment situation, with mandatory overtime beginning to crowd out my astronomy projects. In any case, the first good night was October 9th, when I obtained this unfilterd plot of 1554 Yugoslavia. D. Higgins came up with 3.8879 h in 2008, and I about the same. This object was discovered in 1940 by M.B. Protitch at Belgrade. It appears to be a highly elongated, but fairly uniform object. Normally I wouldn't submit a "one night stand" for publication, but since I discovered another variable star on the same night I need to devote some time to it.


Back to the top

31179 Gongju - (completed 25 October 2012)

Two nights of observations were enough to get a complete curve and a quality rating of "3". There were three other asteroids in the same FOV, but they were so faint that there was little point in trying to get a period determination on them.

Interestingly, 31179 Gongju is not shown in the latest (Sixth Edition) of the Dictionary Of Minor Planet Names. It was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Naoto Sato at Chichibu Observatory near Tokyo, central Japan, on 21 December 1997 per the Minor Planet Center. Gongju is a city in South Korea.


Back to the top


10041 Parkinson - (completed 24 April 2017)

Only time will tell if this one holds up to scrunity. As a "one nighter", many things can be in doubt.

Bradford Parkinson led the team that developed the Global Positioning System with revolutionary tracking technology (which is why nobody these days can read a map.



Back to the top

4435 Holt (Mars crosser) - (completed 8 December 2017)

Two nights of unfiltered observations revealed a possible period of 2.710 h. 4435 Holt is in the list of "Mars Crossers" although it's believed that it's more of a inner grazer (it stays close, but inside, the orbit of Mars).

Discovered in 1983 by C.S. Shoemaker at Palomar, Holt is named after Henry E. Holt, a planetary geologist with the USGS.


Back to the top

126 Velleda (Inner Main Belt) - (completed 7 January 2018)

Two consecutive nights of observations confrimed earlier observation of a period of 5.36 h, the same results as at least four other observers ranging from 1992 to 2011. So why bother *beating a dead horse*? It takes several lightcurves over may orbits to model the spin/shape of an asteroid, the minimum being about four or five.

Velleda was a preistess of the Germans in the first century CE who was worhsipped as a diety. She provoked the rebellion of the Bataves (a German tribe that lived near the Rhine River) against the Romans. The asteroid was discovered in 1872 by P.P. Henry at Paris.



291 Alice - (completed 26 March 2019)

A one-night-stand on 291 Alice. This was a low phase angle opportunity, which may help researchers understand the "opposition effect" (why an object appeares brighter than it should at opposition). Filter was J/C* V-band, 120 second integrations, 81 data points. Alice was pretty far down in the muck, sitting on the celestial equator with a corresponding elevation at meridian crossing of only about 50 degrees, not favorable at all for this location.




Back to the top

2890 Vilyujsk- (see Minor Planet Bulletin 40-2, pp 90-91)

1997 YR2 - (see 31179 Gongju above)

1616 Filipoff- (see Minor Planet Bulletin 40-2, pp 90-91)


Questions/comments, E-mail me at john at theastroimager dot com