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Commission 4 was among the first set of commissions formed within the IAU at its founding in 1919. (Commissions were originally called “Standing Committees.”) During its 96 years of service to the IAU and astronomical community in general, the commission has been fortunate to have been led by many distinguished scientists — see the list of presidents below.
Close encounters of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) with large asteroids are a possible source of systematic errors in trajectory propagations and asteroid mitigation. It is, thus, necessary to identify those large asteroids that have to be considered as perturbers in NEO orbit modeling. Using the Standard Dynamical Model we searched for encounters between the 1649 numbered Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and 2191 large asteroids having sizes greater than 20 km. Investigating the 21st century A. D. we have found 791 close encounters with 195 different large asteroids that lead to a substantial scattering of NEOs.
At the IAU XXVI General Assembly in 2006, the Division I decided to create the Working Group on Astrometry by Small Ground-Based Telescopes (WG-ASGBT). Its scientic goals are to foster the follow-up of small bodies detected by the large surveys including the NEOs; to set-up a dedicated observation network for the follow-up of objects which will be detected by Gaia; to contribute to the observation campaigns of the mutual events of natural satellites, stellar occultations, and binary asteroids; and to encourage teaching astrometry for the next generation. The present report gives the main activities carried out in these areas with small telescopes (diameter less than 2m).
Numerous new Solar System objects, mainly asteroids, are still detected nowadays but their physical and dynamical characteristics remain not accurately determined, until dedicated observations and analysis are made. However, the Virtual Observatory is a perfect framework to search for this characterization by data mining. We are developing two studies for this goal by exploring the DENIS infrared and DFBS spectroscopic surveys. In order to scan the survey catalogues and to search for Solar System objects, we have developed a VO compliant workflow founded on the use of a recent VO tool labelled SkyBoT (Sky Bodies Tracker) (Berthier et al. 2005) and on the VizieR service provided by CDS. A public version of SkyBoT is implemented in the sky atlas Aladin since January 2006. It allows us to quickly get the precise coordinates of the asteroids, planets and natural satellites in any star field, provided we know its center, its size and the precise date of the exposure (between 1949 and 2009). Our data mining workflow performs cone search queries on SkyBoT and VizieR to extract all the known astronomical objects observed by the survey. Then the sources which are detected in the survey are correlated with the known objects to determine the matched and unmatched objects.
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