Small Bodies Data Archives

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About the Small Bodies Data Archives


The Small Bodies Node is a hub connecting to datasets describing small sized astronomical objects. The website is maintained by the University of Maryland College Park.

The Small Bodies Node (SBN) directories contain the on-line data holdings of the Small Bodies Node and additional support files, as they are made available. The files in these directories are also accessible by FTP.

Access the Data

Related Sites

The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and the Minor Planet Center, the organizations responsible for assigning new asteroid and comet designations, have cross-reference utilities available for these designations:

  • Asteroids
  • Comets

Contents of the Data

The SBN datasets are available on-line for browsing and downloading. The vast majority of which are in the form of ASCII or binary tables of numbers. A description of the various file types you might encounter can be found here.

Asteroid Data and Services

The asteroid archives are maintained by the Asteroid Subnode of the SBN, located at the Planetary Sciences Institute in Tucson, AZ.

Comet Data and Services

The comet archives are maintained at the main SBN site at the University of Maryland

Dust Data and Services

The interplanetary dust archives are also available through the Asteroid Subnode.

Orbital Elements

The calculation of orbital elements is a complex and never-ending process. We do not maintain orbital elements here at the Small Bodies Node, however there are two independent sources for elements over the Web:

  • Dr E. Bowell at Lowell Observatory maintains a file containing elements for all numbered asteroids, which he makes available free of charge through his Web page.
  • The Minor Planet Center catalogs asteroid and comet identifications and orbital elements and prepares ephemerides. They are supported by the user fees they charge for their various services, so there may be a fee required before they can fill any given request.