minor planet checking
perform checks for the presence of minor bodies at astronomical locations for a given epoch.
pip install pympc
or download source and:
python setup.py install
frst import the package and grab the orbit element catalogue - this must be done at least once prior to doing any searches and can be run to overwrite the catalogues with the latest versions. the default call signature is shown
>>> import pympc >>> pympc.update_catalogue()
the Near Earth Asteroid catalogue will be downloaded and used to update the
mpcorb entries based on the value of the
it will create a csv file for each catalogue downloaded in the xephem database format.
example 1 (searching)
define our search location, epoch and radius and run the check
>>> import astropy.units as u >>> from astropy.time import Time >>> ra = 230.028 * u.deg >>> dec = -11.774 * u.deg >>> epoch = Time("2019-01-01T00:00") >>> search_radius = 0.5 * u.arcmin >>> pympc.minor_planet_check(ra, dec, epoch, search_radius)
example 2 (assumed units)
here we use float arguments, and the program assumes the units (see
>>> ra = 230.028 # assumed degrees >>> dec = -11.774 # assumed degrees >>> epoch = 58484. # assumed MJD >>> search_radius = 30 # assumed arcseconds >>> pympc.minor_planet_check(ra, dec, epoch, search_radius)
example 3 (using a specific catalogue)
to use a specific orbit catalogue, specify the location of the xephem database , e.g.:
minor_planet_check(ra, dec, epoch, search_radius, xephem_filepath='/path/to/mpcorb_xphem.csv')
if omitted, it will attempt to use
speed and multiprocessing
the check should take of order a second or two, depending on multiprocessing capabilities.
the private function which actually performs the calculation is
_minor_planet_check() (note leading underscore).
this can be called to avoid the overhead associated with converting input arguments to
you can provide them directly as required (see
by default the program will calculate positions of bodies in the catalogue multiprocessed. to switch this off set
chunk_size = 0, i.e.:
>>> pympc.minor_planet_check(ra, dec, epoch, search_radius, chunk_size=0)
the orbits are propagated following xephem (via the pyephem package), and this does not account for perturbations of the orbits. thus the accuracy of the position is dependant on the time difference between the epoch of the orbit elements and the epoch at which the search is being performed. epoch differences between orbital elements calculation and observation of around a month or two should be fine for typical positional accuracies of a few arcsecond for most minor bodies - note however that a small number of bodies (those under going strong perturbations) may be quite inaccurate (arcminutes).
currently the epoch of the orbit elements is visible in the xephem db strings returned by
minor_planet_check() as a
decimal year format (e.g. ..,2019.317808,..). some diagnostic information and warning when using large time differences
is to be implemented.
the filtering of matches based on magnitude via
max_mag argument to
minor_planet_check() is limited by the accuracy
of the magnitude information in the database so some buffer should be applied to the desired magnitude cutoff to allow
this package makes use of data and/or services provided by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.
orbit elements are also sourced from Lowell Observatory, which is funded by the Lowell Observatory Endowment and NASA PDART grant NNX16AG52G.
based from a package developed by Chris Klein and Duncan Galloway.
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