Purpose: This program ("FOV/ISPY") allows one to identify known comets or asteroids
that are present (and may be visible) in an instrument field of view specified
one of three different ways.
Operation: A table is returned listing the objects found, their
predicted position and apparent magnitude, along with data on the uncertainties
in the positional prediction. This information should help one to determine
whether an observed object is previously known or may be newly discovered.
Dynamics: Tabular output is from a high-precision n-body numerical integration
that includes the perturbations of the planets, Moon, Ceres, Pallas and
Vesta. Comet propagations include non-gravitational models as well.
The database of
initial conditions consulted by FOV/ISPY software is maintained
by the Solar System Dynamics Group
at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and is updated hourly, as needed.
Other access methods: This program can also be accessed non-interactively by sending an e-mail
of commands to the address "email@example.com" with the subject "FOV".
A commented example
of a command file is available which explains the method.
Commentary: With 1000+ new asteroids being discovered each month, and orbits being refined
significantly all the time, it can sometimes be worthwhile to "check again"
in a few weeks. An unknown object from a previous search may have since been
References: More information on any particular asteroid or comet appearing in your search
results can be found from JPL's Horizons system, accessed by
WWW (basic functions),
or by telnet
(telnet ssd.jpl.nasa.gov 6775) or e-mail, both of which offer much more
functionality than the web interface.
JPL orbit animations for a listed object are also available.