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Published February 1998 | public
Journal Article

Asteroid Trails in Hubble Space Telescope1 WFPC2 Images: First Results


Careful examination of 28,460 selected Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) long exposures from 1994, 1995, and early 1996 has revealed trails of 96 distinct moving objects. They have been reported to the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Minor Planet Center for their asteroid database and a few have been identified with known asteroids and used to update their orbits. Most of the objects are new, as they are too faint to show up on ground-based surveys. The trails often show a characteristic curvature due to the parallax induced by HST's orbital motion during the exposures. Using ephemerides for HST, the distance to each object can be directly determined from the parallax contribution to the trail shapes. Based on these distances, constraints on the orbits, and photometry of the trails (16

Additional Information

© 1998 Academic Press. Received January 3, 1997; revised September 8, 1997. The authors thank Brian Marsden and Gareth Williams for help in identifying and checking our work on some of these objects and Eleanor Helin and David Rabinowitz for helpful discussions. This work is being carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under Contract NAS7-918 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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