Astrometry is the art and science of measuring positions of celestial objects, and indeed the first step in determining the orbit of a new asteroid or comet is to obtain a set of good astrometric positions. For much of the twentieth century, most astrometric positions were determined photographically.
- 11.1: Introduction to Photographic Astrometry
- Why, then, would you ever want to read a chapter on photographic astrometry? Well, perhaps you won’t. After all, to convert your observations to right ascension and declination today, a single key on your computer keyboard will do it all. But this is because someone, somewhere, and usually a very anonymous person, has written for you a highly efficient computer program that carries out all the necessary calculations. Thus you can probably safely bypass this chapter.
Thumbnail: Motion of barycenter of solar system relative to the Sun. Carl Smith derivative work: Rubik-wuerfel