GHOST discovers Potentially Hazardous Asteroid “2023 RW9”

In the night of the of the 13th September 2023 at 03:41 UTC, the 0.50 m ATLAS telescope in Chile found a fainter object (18-19 mag) moving in the sky. The observatory submitted its measurements, as it is the typical procedure, to the MinorPlanetCenter (MPC) of the IAU. Other observatories throughout the world tried to find this object too. After first confirmatory observations it became clear that the observed object is an asteroid with around 140 m diameter (H=22) and a minimal orbital intersection distance (MOID) with Earth of around 0.05 AU (~19 lunar distances), but with no chance of hitting Earth. Nevertheless, this object is classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” (PHA).

In order to refine the orbit and characterize the object more accurately, more observers did measurements of the position and brightness of the object and also submitted them to the MPC. The university observatory of Oldenburg with the 0.40 m GHOST telescope observed the PHA on the 15th of September from 00:25 UTC until 2:24 UTC with accurate measurements (cf. image below). With these last measurements, the asteroid was ready to be published as the orbital uncertainties were reduced appropriately, so that regular measurements in the next years can verify the predicted orbit without the chance of loosing the asteroid.



Erneut erdnahen Asteroiden entdeckt

In der Nacht vom 08. Februar 2023 hat das “Große Hauptteleskop der Oldenburger Sternwarte” (GHOST) erneut einen erdnahen Asteroiden, sogenannte NEOs, entdeckt. Dies ist bereits das dritte Objekte, welches mit dem Teleskop entdeckt wurde. Der provisorische Name lautet “2023 CS”.

Die Entdeckung verlief in Kooperation mit mehreren Teleskopen weltweit. Zuerst wurde das Objekt von dem Teleskop der Catalina Sky Survey einige Stunden vor der Beobachtung in Oldenburg entdeckt. Zusammen mit weiteren Daten von 10 Teleskopen weltweit konnte das Oldenburger Teleskop dazu beisteuern, dass die Bahn und Größe des Objekts genauer bestimmt werden konnte.

Es handelt sich bei “2023 CS” um einen erdnahen Asteroiden mit einer Größe von etwa 150 m (angenommener Albedo: 0.15). Der minimale Abstand des Objekts zur Erdumlaufbahn beträgt 0.066 AU, was 25 Mondabständen entspricht. Der Asteroid hat somit einen zu großen Abstand, um mit der Erde potenziell kollidieren zu können und wird daher nicht als gefährlich eingestuft.

Veröffentlichung zum Objekt: https://minorplanetcenter.net/mpec/K23/K23C60.html

Veröffentlichung zum Teleskopsystem: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspas.2022.895732/full

Bild: Tobias Hoffmann, Universitätssternwarte Oldenburg (G01)

Allgemein Smart Telescope

Oldenburg University Observatory most active telescope in Northern Europe

The University Observatory of Oldenburg achieved to make the most observations of asteroids, comets and Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) in the northern Europe area in 2022. All these observations of all observatories world-wide are collected and used by the MinorPlanetCenter (MPC) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). In total, the Oldenburg telescopes made 576 observations in this year, which is the most in Northern Germany [1] and Northern Europe [2].

Most of the observations were made with the “Große Hauptteleskop der Oldenburger Sternwarte” (GHOST), a 40 cm Ritchey-Chrétien-Telescope. It was transformed to a robotic telescope in 2021 for asteroids detection and since then continuously makes observation, when the weather is suitable. The robotic observation pipeline was published in October 2022 and can be accessed here under [3].

If you are interested in the observatory and its telescopes, please feel free to contact us: astrophysik@uol.de

[1] Northern Germany includes: Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein, Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony
[2] Northern Europe includes in this case: Northern Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspas.2022.895732/full


Universitätssternwarte im Adventskalenders

Die Universitätssternwarte wurde im Türchen “18” des Adventskalenders der Universität Oldenburg gefilmt und einen kurzen Einblick in das “Große Hauptteleskop der Oldenburger Sternwarte” (GHOST) gegeben und über die Arbeit der Sternwarte berichtet.

Mit dabei waren Prof. Dr. Björn Poppe (AG Medizinische Strahlenphysik und Space Environment), einer der Leiter der Sternwarte, sowie Tobias Hoffmann (Master Physik Student), zuständig für die Beobachtungen des Teleskops.

Ein großen Dank an Frau Silke Rudolph von der Abteilung Presse & Kommunikation der Universität Oldenburg für die tollen Aufnahmen und den Zusammenschnitt!

Quelle des Videos und mehr Informationen: https://uol.de/advent


Recovery of lost Near-Earth Asteroid 2005 XW4

In the night of the 14th of December the “Großes Hauptteleskop der Oldenburger Sternwarte” (GHOST) of the university observatory of Oldenburg (G01) was able to recover an Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) that was missed for 17 years. At first, it was believed that the detected object was a new discovered asteroid, but after several observations of 25 observatories worldwide it became clear that the orbit is identical with the object “2005 XW4” or “K05X04W” which could not be observed anymore since the end of 2005 and the predictions of the orbit were too uncertain. The Oldenburg telescope was one of the first telescopes worldwide that observed the object after the ATLAS telescope at Haleakala (T05), Hawaii, initially (re-)found the object about 10 hours prior. With a visual magnitude of about 18 mag it was a relativly bright NEA, thus many observatories were able to make observations.

2005 XW4 was first discovered at Lincol Laboratory ETS in New Mexico on 6th of December 2005. It is an Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) with a diameter of 160 m (assuming albedo of 15%) and a minimal orbital intersection distance with Earth of 0.06866 AU (10.3 Million km or about 27 moon distances). Eventhough it is currently not considered a risk according to the ESA risk list, since to current measurements it will not hit Earth in the future, it should be observed frequently to improve the predictions. The goal is that the object is not lost again. This is why the Oldenburg telescopes are observing the object as long as it is close and bright enough.

This is now the second time the university observatory was able to help find objects from the “NEO Confirmation Page” of the MinorPlanetCenter. Since launch of the NEO observation system in Oldenburg, both telescopes of the university observatory, GHOST and ORT, made more than 800 follow-up observations of small objects in the solar system. They submit their measurements to Minor Planet Center (MPC), which combines measurements from observatories all around the world and calculates precise orbits of these objects. This ensures that all objects that could be dangerous for Earth are tracked. An original research article was published in October about the system in Oldenburg. It can be read here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspas.2022.895732/full

More Information on the object 2005 XW4:

Animation of the measurements of the Asteroid “2005 XW4”
Astrofotography Deep-Sky-Objekt


TS-Optics 16” f/8 RC Teleskop (406/3250 mm)
ATIK 383L+ CCD Kamera, -15 °C

Merge from 4 Pictures with 0.5 s exposure at Bin 1×1