• Preparing MPCs (Info)

  • The Minor Planet Center (MPC) operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), under the auspices of Division F (formerly Division III) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The Minor Planet Center derives its operating budget from a five-year NASA grant.

    The MPC is responsible for the designation of minor bodies in the solar system: minor planets; comets, in conjunction with the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT); and natural satellites (also in conjunction with CBAT). The MPC is also responsible for the efficient collection, computation, checking and dissemination of astrometric observations and orbits for minor planets and comets, via its journals:

    • Minor Planet Circulars (issued generally on a monthly basis)
    • Minor Planet Circulars Orbit Supplement (MPO) (issued up to thirteen times per year)
    • Minor Planet Circulars Supplement (MPS) (issued three or four times a month)
    • Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECs) (issued as necessary, generally at least once per day)


    MPC Publications and Services


    Services for Observers


    Large Data Sets

    Access the large observation and orbit data files generated by the MPC.
    • MPCAT: Complete (and update) orbit files
    • MPCAT-OBS: Observation files
    • MPCUPDATE: Files associated with MPC batches
    • MPCArchive: PDF versions of the MPC's various journals.


    Documentation

    • Documentation about the various aspects of the MPC's operations.


    Lists and plots


    Miscellaneous