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Lost minor planets are minor planets that observers lose track of due to too short an observation arc to accurately predict the future location of the minor planet. Many of the asteroids that were discovered early were lost and rediscovered in the 1980s and 1990s, but a number of minor planets continue to be lost.<ref name=brit1 >Lost asteroid. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 February 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/topic/lost-asteroid</ref> By some definitions, thousands, if not tens of thousands observed minor planets are lost—they cannot be found by pointing an appropriate telescope at their predicted location, because the uncertainty in their predicted orbit is too large or they are currently too faint to be detected.<ref name=blair>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Some minor planets and comets discovered in previous decades were "lost" because not enough observational data had been obtained to determine a reliable orbit. Without this information, astronomers would not know where to look for the object at future dates. Occasionally, a "newly discovered" object turns out to be a rediscovery of a previously lost object. This can be determined by calculating the "new" object's orbit backwards and checking its past positions against those previously recorded for the lost object. In the case of lost comets this is especially tricky because of nongravitational forces that can affect their orbits, such as emission of jets of gas from the comet nucleus. However, Brian G. Marsden has specialized in calculating such nongravitational forces. Notably, he successfully predicted the 1992 return of the once-lost periodic comet Swift–Tuttle.


Lost minor planet sections
Intro   20th-century recoveries    21st century    Examples    See also    References    External links   

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Title::asteroid    Object::minor    Minor::marsden    Harvard::orbit    Planet::observed    Format::brian

CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=blair />

Lost minor planets are minor planets that observers lose track of due to too short an observation arc to accurately predict the future location of the minor planet. Many of the asteroids that were discovered early were lost and rediscovered in the 1980s and 1990s, but a number of minor planets continue to be lost.<ref name=brit1 >Lost asteroid. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 February 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/topic/lost-asteroid</ref> By some definitions, thousands, if not tens of thousands observed minor planets are lost—they cannot be found by pointing an appropriate telescope at their predicted location, because the uncertainty in their predicted orbit is too large or they are currently too faint to be detected.<ref name=blair>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Some minor planets and comets discovered in previous decades were "lost" because not enough observational data had been obtained to determine a reliable orbit. Without this information, astronomers would not know where to look for the object at future dates. Occasionally, a "newly discovered" object turns out to be a rediscovery of a previously lost object. This can be determined by calculating the "new" object's orbit backwards and checking its past positions against those previously recorded for the lost object. In the case of lost comets this is especially tricky because of nongravitational forces that can affect their orbits, such as emission of jets of gas from the comet nucleus. However, Brian G. Marsden has specialized in calculating such nongravitational forces. Notably, he successfully predicted the 1992 return of the once-lost periodic comet Swift–Tuttle.


Lost minor planet sections
Intro   20th-century recoveries    21st century    Examples    See also    References    External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: 20th-century recoveries
<<>>