Observation Planning Tools

The links on this page take you to different pages for planning your asteroid observations. They vary in the type and amount of information available.

LCDB Search

This takes you directly to the LCDB Query form where you can search for lightcurve data on one or more asteroids. 


Data Provided

  • Adopted rotation period and amplitude (range) and quality rating (U) for that solution.
  • Adopted diameter, H-G parameters, albedo, taxonomic class.
  • Details records showing one more sources of lightcurve observations with BibCode links to the ADS.
  • If available, details of: binary, tumbling, spin axis, ambiguous solutions, and color index.


The ALCDEF database now resides exclusively on the Minor Planet Center web site. You can upload/download data by visiting the MPC ALCDEF page.


Ephemeris Generator

This page goes directory to the Ephemeris Generator form. This allows you to find asteroids reaching brightest during a given month for the current year, the year before, and the next four years (e.g., if it is 2014, data from 2013-2018 are available). The search can be filtered on, among other things, limiting magnitude and declination range. Additional filters allow you to restrict the results to those objects with a certain quality rating (U) in the LCDB (if included) and if the object is included in the CALL site's notification and/or submissions tables.


Data Provided

  • Status in the CALL and LCDB databases.
  • Dates/Magnitudes at opposition, at brightest (plus declination), and date/distance when closest to Earth anytime within the six years available (see comments under the Ephemeris Generator above.
  • LCDB Summary information: Period, min/max amplitude, and quality of adopted solution (U).
  • Ability to generate an ephemeris for the next 40 days for one or more objects in the list.
  • Ability to view the same results provided under the ALCDEF Search above for one asteroid at a time.



One Asteroid Lookup

This takes you directly to the One Asteroid Info form. Use this link when you want all available data for one and only one asteroid. 

Data Provided

  • Up to all of the above (if the object is in at least one table).


Family Ephemerides

This takes you directly to the Family Ephemeris form. This is for those who like to work some of the common asteroid families or groups, such as the Floras, Jupiter Trojans, and NEAs. The input form allows you select from a list of common families, set your longitude and latitude, and default UT, along with a filter for magnitude, declination, and solar elongation.

Data Provided

  • A summary listing of all objects meeting your search criteria that includes the magnitude at the start and and of the 25-day period staring the day you generate the page.
  • Individual ephemerides for each object in the list that includes moon phase/elongation and galactic longitude/latitude.
  • The output is a direct upload text file. Save the file from you browser menu. There is no link to download the file after the fact.