Jana Ticha(1), Milos Tichy(1,2), Michaela Honkova(1,3), Michal Kocer(1)
(1) Klet Observatory, Zatkovo nabrezi 4, CZ-370 01 Ceske Budejovice
South Bohemia, Czech Republic
(2) Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Advanced Geodesy, Prague, Czech Republic
(3) Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Enginnering, Institute of Mathematics, Brno, Czech Republic
The first step of understanding of Near Earth Object (NEO) population is clearly its discovery maintained by both ground-based and space surveys. Secondly, an integral, although unfortunately undervalued, part of NEO discovery is astrometric follow-up. NEO follow-up astrometry is fundamental for precise orbit computation, for reasonable judging of future close encounters with the Earth including possible impact solutions as well as for planning of a wide variety of observing campaignes for the physical characterizing of these bodies (radar observations, space missions, largest ground-based and/or space telescopes).
The testing observations of the KLENOT Telescope Next Generation were started in October 2011 and hundreds of minor planet astrometric positions including NEA measurements were published up to now. This step opens new possibilities for the KLENOT Project, the long-term European Contribution to Monitoring and Cataloging Near Earth Objects.
The KLENOT Project of the Klet Observatory (South Bohemia, Czech Republic) pursued the confirmation, early follow-up, long-arc follow-up and recovery of Near Earth Objects since 2002. Tens of thousands astrometric measurements helped to inventory of NEOs as well as to understand the NEO population. It ranked among the world most prolific professional NEO follow-up programmes during its first phase from 2002 to 2008.
The fundamental improvement of the 1.06-m KLENOT telescope was made since autumn 2008. The new computer controlled paralactic mount can substantially increase telescope-time efficiency, the number of observations, their accuracy and limiting magnitude. The original Klet Software Package has been upgraded over the past two decades of operation. With the current computing power available, enhancing and updating our databases and astrometry program, the core of our software package, would prove highly beneficial. Implementing new mathematical algorithm to suppress noise on our images and enhance the performance of the astrometric measurements taken to increase both the limiting magnitude and accuracy of our measurements is being planned now. The 1.06-m KLENOT telescope is still the largest telescope in Europe used exclusively for observations of asteroids and comets. Full observing time is dedicated to the KLENOT team.
We also plan to discuss an international dimension of NEO astrometric follow-up, crucial for reasonable results. A meaningful connection and collaboration with the next generation ground-based and space surveys will be important. The cooperation with and through the Minor Planet Center, the worldwide clearinghouse for small solar system bodies astrometric observations and orbits, is an essential feature of NEO efforts. We also plan to take part and/or cooperate with the ESA's SSA-NEO Programme as a part of European 'network of sensors'.
Considering our results and long-time experience obtained at the Klet Observatory since 1993 up to now, we have the large potential to contribute to these NEO efforts.