S318.9.04 — The ESA SSA NEO Coordination Centre contribution to NEO hazard monitoring and observational campaigns

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Aug 6th at 9:45 AM until 10:00 AM

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Author(s): Marco Micheli1, Barbara Borgia1, Gerhard Drolshagen1, Detlef Koschny1, Ettore Perozzi1

Institution(s): 1. ESA SSA NEO Coordination Centre

The NEO Coordination Centre (NEOCC) has recently been established in Frascati, near Rome, within the framework of the ESA Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme. Among its tasks is the coordination of observational activities related to the NEO hazard, and the distribution of relevant and up-to-date information on NEOs to both the scientific community and general users through its web portal (http://neo.ssa.esa.int).
On
the observational side, the NEOCC is linked to an increasingly large worldwide network of collaborating observatories, ranging from amateurs observers to large professional telescopes. The Centre organizes observation campaigns, alerting the network to suggest urgent or high-priority observations, and providing them with observational support.
The NEOCC is also directly obtaining astrometric observations of high-priority targets, especially Virtual Impactors (VIs), on challenging objects as faint as magnitude 26.5, thanks to successful collaborations with ESO VLT in Chile and the INAF-sponsored LBT in Arizona. In addition, the Centre carries out regular monthly runs dedicated to NEO follow-up, recovery and survey activities with the 1-meter ESA OGS telescope in Tenerife.
From a service perspective, the NEO System hosted at the NEOCC collects data and information on NEOs produced by various European services (e.g. NEODyS, EARN) and makes them available to a variety of users, with a particular focus on objects with possible collision solutions with the Earth. Among the tools provided through the web portal are the Risk List (a table of all known NEOs with impact solutions), a table of recent and upcoming close approaches, a database of physical properties of NEOs and the so-called Priority List, which allows observers to identify NEOs in most urgent need of observations, and prioritise their observational activities accordingly.
The results of our recent observation campaigns and some major recent improvements to the NEO System will presented and discussed in detail.