Asteroid and Comet Data

The International Astronomical Union - Minor Planet Center (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) produce comet and minor planet (asteroid) data files for use directly with MyStars!, in MyStars! format.

Their file "Observable Comets" lists ALL current and recent comets, often close to 60 of them. They also have various minor planets (asteroid) files that list distant, unusual or near-earth asteroids.

Most of the items listed are not visible to the naked eye, but some can be found with a good telescope. You can use MyStars! to determine their current locations and magnitudes.

Merging these file into MyStars! insures that you will be using the most complete and up-to-date data available.

Note that osculating elements are extremely accurate only for a short period of time (+/- 100 days) near the date of 'epoch' when the file is produced. Even though MyStars! can extrapolate and show you positions far in the past and future for these objects, it should be remembered that the accuracy of these calculations decreases quickly over time. So be sure to come back here for new and updated files every so often.

To merge the IAU data files into you current data in MyStars!:

  1. Using you Web Browser, Go to the MPC web page for MyStars! and click on a data file required.
  2. From the menu in your browser, File/Save AS PLAIN TEXT, and save the data onto your system.
  3. Then start MyStars!
  4. Select Datasets and choose the type of data you wish to update (comets or minor planets)
  5. Select Merge File and select the file you just copied from the MPC.
  6. The data is now merged into your dataset data.
  7. Delete any old duplicate records from your lists (or you can do this later).
  8. Press done.

The IAU is updating these files on a regular basis. By following the above process you can always keep your comet and asteroid data complete and up-to-date.

Relative Data thanks the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the IAU for making this data available to all in MyStars! format!

If you have any questions about installing these data files, e-mail us here at Relative Data.