Red Barn Observatory MPC-H68
Established 2006
Ty Ty, Georgia, USA
All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of Steve E. Farmer Jr.
PRIMARY RESEARCH

Starting in 2010, photometry was implemented at the Red Barn Observatory - to determine the rotational periods of newly detected Near Earth Objects, Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids, and other Minor Planets in need of studies.  Astrometry from these objects is also determined and reported to the Minor Planet Center.

The primary reason for studying the rotational periods of these objects is to determine their structural compositions.  Theoretically, an asteroid, such as a solid metallic or
stony asteroid, could possibly have a faster rotational period than that of a "rubble pile" asteroid - a "rubble pile" meaning an object that has developed over a period of
time from smaller meteoroid pieces or created from a larger body that has been impacted and reformed.  These rubble pile asteroids can only rotate so fast, or the
centrifugal force would overcome gravity and cause them to simply "fly apart".  This points out that since the metallic/solid-body asteroids will not "fly apart" they are
capable of spinning faster.  The purpose for studying these objects is to give us a better idea as to how we could attack the object if we were to discover a potential
impactor.

LIGHTCURVES & PHOTOMETRY OF MINOR PLANETS

Obtaining lightcurves or photometry from minor planets is an art of its own!  To quickly define what a lightcurve or what photometry of minor planets is - "the variation of
the magnitude of light reflected to Earth, measured with some form of "light gathering tool" (usually a telescope & CCD), and measuring this variation.  Imagine looking at
a someone holding an egg 20 feet away from you.  If they hold it upright, you can see it pretty good.  If they point the egg at you, its not as easy to see.  This is because
of the amount of light the egg is reflecting.  Most asteroids, normally much larger than an egg but somewhat shaped like a potato, rotate in space.  When these "spuds"
rotate, the amount of light reflected from the asteroid can be collected and compared over a period of time.  Once a certain amount of data collected is combined, a
lightcurve can be generated.  By doing this, the rotation can be determined, whether it is a binary system (two or more asteroids rotating each other), and a rough
estimate of the shape of the asteroid can be determined with enough data and the proper software.

The lightcurve or photometry that I collect from minor planets will be documented on this web page.  I will use my own equipment (0.3-meter SCT and SBIG ST-7 CCD) to
obtain lightcurves/photometry from minor planets.  If anyone is interested in publishing your lightcurve work here on this page, or interested in sharing data to refine my
or your lightcurves - please contact me at sefarmer[at]cometary[dot]net.