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Asteroid/Comet Database incomplete in SkySafari Pro 5

I have Sky Safari Pro 5 on the Mac. I noticed the asteroid/comet database is incomplete. I did do the "Update" from the Solar System menu, but the more recent asteroids & comets discovered still do not show up. In particular, the new asteroids from the end of 2016 are missing, as are all asteroids and comets discovered in 2017. These missing objects are in the Minor Planet Center database. Please advise.

9 comments

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    Bill Tschumy

    We only include asteroids and comets when they get added to the Minor Planet Center files that we download.  I will check into why these haven't been updates for so long.  Thanks for pointing this out.

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    Rocket Ron

    Again, the data is missing SkySafari Pro 5, not from the Minor Planet Center.  The Minor Planet Center is updated daily. 

    http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/data

     

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    Bill Tschumy

    But the files we pull from the MPC are not getting updated.  That is the problem I believe.  I will look into it.

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    Bill Tschumy

    I've looked into this a bit and you'll need to tell me what objects you think are missing.  If you search for:

    "C/2017" you will find two comets (C/2017 A1 and P/2017 A3)

    "P/2017" you will find one comet (P/2017 A2)

    "2017 A" you will find 2 asteroids (2017 AB5 and 2017 AX13)

    So it seems we definitely have some of the comets/asteroids discovered this year.  Are there others we do not have?  I think they only get added to our list when they are given an official designation.

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    Rocket Ron

    Bill,

    OK, I may have missed the comets because I didn't quite search for them correctly. But there are still missing asteroids.    Yesterday, when I checked, the latest asteroid was 2016 VF1.  Today, I see the two 2017 asteroids you mentioned.  Though I should point out there have been over 100 asteroids discovered already in 2017. All of these are in the MPC and JPL databases. 

    Another example: Asteroids 2016 YF11, 2017 AY3 and 2017 AJ13 all made recent close flybys of Earth. None of these are in SkySafari Pro.

    Where does SkySafari Pro store its asteroid and comet data?   I can take a look at it. 

    P.S.  I work at JPL. 

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    Bill Tschumy

    Ron,

    It looks like we pull the following files from MPC (http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/data) for updates to our asteroid list:

    • Distant.txt
    • Unusual.txt

    I'm not the one that set this up and I'm not sure why these two files in particular were chosen.  Are there other files that you recommend we also grab?

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    Dmlounsbury

    I'll put in my vote for PHA.txt. "The last observing list you'll ever need."

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    Rocket Ron

    You should be using the mpcorb file  (700,000+ asteroids) and CometEls.txt (800+ comets).  Distant.txt and Unusual.txt are subsets of the mpcorb file.

     

    If would be nice too if you had an option to only display  the Near-Earth asteroids. These asteroids are listed in NEA.txt, and there's about 15,000 of these.

    PHA.txt (Potentionally Hazardous Asteroids) is a subset of NEA.txt

     

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    Bill Tschumy

    The MPCORB file is way to big for us to digest as part of a weekly update.  We do use that when we do a complete database rebuild (about every 2 years).  It contains 750,000 asteroids, everything ever discovered.  As it is it takes 20-30 seconds to update the database and that is only for 16,810 astroids and 897 comets and 1,906 satellites.

    We need a file that lists just new asteroids or ones who's orbital elements have change significantly.  I suppose we could do some post-processing on our servers to generate such a file.  I can discuss it with the team.

     

     

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