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How do I report Kuiper Belt object (308193) 2005 CB79 outburst?

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How do I report Kuiper Belt object (308193) 2005 CB79 outburst?

How does one report anomalous observations of asteroids, in particular, an unusual observation of a Kuiper belt object I made back in March?

I was experimenting with imaging Kuiper Belt objects in mid-March, thinking that they would move slowly enough that I could capture them with moderate exposures with my 16" and maybe experiment with magnitude measurements. I was shooting for some of the brighter slow moving ones that should have been around 20th magnitude or so. After a few tries on a couple of other objects, on March 18th, 2020, I managed to capture two images showing the motion of (308193) 2005CB79, an object at around 37 au that should have been around 20th magntide. 

Upon examination of the images the next day, I was stunned to realize that it was clearly more like 17th or 18th magnitude, which I estimated based on surrounding stars in the field. Unfortunately, I didn't image with the idea of measuring magnitudes by saving multiple shorter exposures and stacking them to align images of the asteroid, as I was just trying to establish proof of concept by simply capturing its motion. The next clear day on the March 21st 2020, I attempted to reacquire it and found it invisible again, most likely much dimmer than 20th magnitude. The position in the March 18th images matched exactly with ephemeris predictions and there were no other asteroids near that location in the field, so I am sure I found the right object, so it appeared that the object had undergone and outburst of some sort and had returned to its more typical brightness by March 21st.

I tried sending an e-mail to the Minor Planet Center, but did not get a reply. Should I try again, or are there other resources that might be better? It would be nice to find someone in the field that are interesting in such things and foward the before and after images. It seems to me that an impact on a Kuiper Belt object, as I suspect this might be, is probably a pretty rare thing.


B.P.Vietje's picture
Asteroids & Kuiper Belt Objects

Not sure how to reach someone at the MPC, but you could also try looking into Northolt Branch Observatories, in London.  Guy Wells (London), and Daniel Bamberger (Germany) do some amazing work with Asteroids, and might be able to point you in the right direction.


They have a Facebook page with contact info, so you should have no trouble making contact.


Good luck!


Brad Vietje, VBPA

Newbury, VT

Asteroids & Kuiper Belt Objects

Thanks so much for your help, I will keep this in mind for the future. After letting the data sit for a few days, I went back to it and carefully went over things again and noticed there was an asteroid of the right brightness that I had missed checking when I originally got the list of known asteroids in the field at the time from the JPL minor planet database. It turns out this brigher main belt asteroid was passing within a few arc seconds of the location of my intended Kuiper belt target, and with roughly the same direction of motion, (5558) Johnnapier with a predicted 16.9m(V). Johnnapier's predicted apparent motion almost exactly matched what I measured within 0.4%, verifying I now had the right identification. Really bad luck! Science is like carpentry - measure twice cut once.

With careful processing, I did find a faint streak of my original targer Kuiper belt asteroid in several of my images though, so all was not lost as I at least got to proof of concept. With improved imaging procedures, I hope to get better images and data on future attempts to capture some of these distant Kuiper belt objects.


AAX's picture


You can contact Dr. Daniel Green ( CBAT) who publish electronic telegrams here

MPC needs a proper format and a observatory code to sent data.


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