• KLENOT Project 2002-2008 contribution to NEO astrometric follow-up

      Ticha, J.; Tichy, M.; Kocer, M.; Honkova, M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2009-01-01)
      Near-Earth object (NEO) research plays an increasingly important role not only in solar system science but also in protecting our planetary environment as well as human society from the asteroid and comet hazard. Consequently, interest in detecting, tracking, cataloguing, and the physical characterizing of these bodies has steadily grown. The discovery rate of current NEO surveys reflects progressive improvement in a number of technical areas. An integral part of NEO discovery is astrometric follow-up crucial for precise orbit computation and for the reasonable judging of future close encounters with the Earth, including possible impact solutions. The KLENOT Project of the Klet Observatory (South Bohemia, Czech Republic) is aimed especially at the confirmation, early follow-up, long-arc follow-up, and recovery of near-Earth objects. It ranks among the worlds most prolific professional NEO follow-up programs. The 1.06 m KLENOT telescope, put into regular operation in 2002, is the largest telescope in Europe used exclusively for observations of minor planets and comets, and full observing time is dedicated to the KLENOT team. In this paper, we present the equipment, technology, software, observing strategy, and results of the KLENOT Project obtained during its first phase from March 2002 to September 2008. The results consist of thousands of precise astrometric measurements of NEOs and also three newly discovered near-Earth asteroids. Finally, we also discuss future plans reflecting also the role of astrometric follow-up in connection with the modus operandi of the next generation surveys.