Astronomical Research Institute Westfield, Illinois
The Astronomical Research Institute and the Astronomical Research Observatory is a not for profit research organization working in the field of near earth object observations. Operating under NASA's Near Earth Object Observation Program, the Astronomical Research Observatory works every clear night following up near-Earth objects that have been recently discovered by the large sky survey programs. The Astronomical Research Observatory reports all observations of near earth objects to the Minor Planet Center under Observatory Code H21 using a 0.81m telescope ( 32 inch telescope ) and 0.61m telescope ( 24 inch telescope ). Reports to the MPC are published in the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars ( MPEC's ) and at the NEODyS or NEO Dynamics site at the University of Pisa in Italy. ARO previously worked from Charleston, Illinois from 2006 - 2009 at Observatory Code H55.
Observations of NEAs ( near earth asteroids ) are important to the astronomical community to determine the potential earth impact hazard these asteroids impose. Our goal at ARI is to produce high quality observations to unfiltered magnitude 23.0 to help determine the orbits of NEAs and to realistically understand the potential threat these objects impose to the Earth.
In 2009 ARO moved their instrumentation to a darker site 12 miles west of the former location near Charleston, IL. The new location is located on a 40 acre site at Westfield. This has enhanced the limiting magnitude of our instrumentation by about 0.9 magnitudes during periods when the moon is not present in the night sky. Mike Lockwood measured 21.55 magnitudes per square arc/sec with a Sky Quality Meter and 6.3 magnitude stars have been observed during new moon 45 degrees above the horizon.