MP3C: the Minor Planet Physical Properties Catalog
What is MP3C?
In a nutshell, MP3C is a database of dynamical, physical, and surface properties of minor bodies of our solar system. It provides a convenient access to informations otherwise spread among many data bases hosted in many different places with many different data formats.
MP3C also offers a solution to the common issue of cross-identification of targets between different datasets, in which objects are identified differently. The nomenclature of minor bodies implies an evolution of target designation with time: from provisional designation, to numbered, to named for asteroids for instance. As such, an object listed in datasets produced at different epochs may have different identifier (e.g., 2003 EL61, later numbered 136108, then named Haumea), resulting in tedious cross-identification among datasets. MP3C solves this by performing this cross-identification for each dataset ingested into the system.
Moreover, MP3C services are based on IVOA standards and results are available in many formats (html, csv, JSON and VO Table), and compatible with VO clients such as TOPCAT and STILTS. We also offer an interface to query ephemerides using the IMCCE VO Miriade service.
What is the level of completeness of MP3C?
There are two types of completeness to consider: the number of objects and the number of parameters.
Completeness of objects: MP3C uses as primary identifier the designation of minor planets of the MPCORB resource, generated by the MPC. We update MP3C database weekly, so completeness is always guaranteed within a few days. However, up to date, MP3C does not include comets nor planetary satellites.
Completeness of parameters: The amount of parameters for each target depend on the resources included in MP3C, which list is available in the Data & Statistics page. MP3C includes all the entries of these resources, and is hence complete in that sense. If a resource is useful for your research but not included in MP3C, we welcome suggestions. Do not hesitate in contacting us: firstname.lastname@example.org
How often are the data of MP3C updated?
Every week on Sunday, at 00:00 UTC, MP3C downloads the current MPCORB file from the MPC, together with the associated identification files. These allow to build a list of minor planets with a unique identifier, and all their other designations. Then, for each of the resources listed in the Data & Statistics page, MP3C:
- downloads the resource,
- identifies with MP3C unique identifier each entry in the resource,
- incorporates the resource in the database.
MP3C discovery completeness is therefore complete every week, following the evolution of MPCORB. Thanks to the unique identifier for each minor planet in MP3C, all the resources are properly linked together at each update.
Where are the data of MP3C coming from?
MP3C compiles data from all over the world, produced by many different authors and institutes. The Data & Statistics page, provides a complete description of each resource, including the appropriate way to reference and acknowledge them. The main sources of data of MP3C are
- the Minor Planet Center (MPC),
- the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS) Small Bodies Node (SBN),
- the Asteroids - Dynamic Site (AstDys).
How should I cite the data obtained with MP3C?
As a plateform providing data from many different sources, MP3C also provides the list of acknowledgments and citations linked with each resource (see the Data & Statistics).
Please use this information to give proper credit to all the researchers and institutes who produced the data useful for your research. Also, please cite Delbo et al. (2017) which describes the Services.