MONTHLY NOTICES of the Royal Astronomical Society / Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (2015)

A new method based on the subpixel Gaussian model for accurate estimation of asteroid coordinates

V. E. Savanevych, O. B. Briukhovetskyi, N. S. Sokovikova, M. M. Bezkrovny, I. B. Vavilova, Yu. M. Ivashchenko, L. V. Elenin, S. V. Khlamov, Ia. S. Movsesian, A.M. Dashkova, A.V. Pogorelov


We describe a new iteration method to estimate asteroid coordinates, which is based on the subpixel Gaussian model of a discrete object image. The method operates by continuous parameters (asteroid coordinates) in a discrete observational space (the set of pixels potential) of the CCD frame. In this model, a kind of the coordinate distribution of the photons hitting a pixel of the CCD frame is known a priori, while the associated parameters are determined from a real digital object image. The developed method, being more flexible in adapting to any form of the object image, has a high measurement accuracy along with a low calculating complexity due to a maximum likelihood procedure, which is implemented to obtain the best fit instead of a least-squares method and Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm for the minimisation of the quadratic form.

Since 2010, the method was tested as the basis of our CoLiTec (Collection Light Technology) software, which has been installed at several observatories of the world with the aim of automatic discoveries of asteroids and comets on a set of CCD frames. As the result, four comets (C/2010 X1 (Elenin), P/2011 NO1(Elenin), C/2012 S1 (ISON), and P/2013 V3 (Nevski)) as well as more than 1500 small Solar System bodies (including five NEOs, 21 Trojan asteroids of Jupiter, and one Centaur object) were discovered. We discuss these results that allowed us to compare the accuracy parameters of a new method and confirm its efficiency.

In 2014, the CoLiTec software was recommended to all members of the Gaia-FUN-SSO network for analysing observations as a tool to detect faint moving objects in frames.

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