Minor Planet Center API

Overview

Asterank is happy to offer a basic queryable database for the Minor Planet Center's MPCORB.DAT data files. It is a simple way to quickly apply constraints to a set of over 600,000 asteroids. The database supports comparators and specific criteria for all attributes provided by the MPC.

The database currently runs on mongodb and queries must adhere to mongo's json format for a 'find' operation. Information is updated nightly from the MPC's MPCORB.dat dataset.

Format

Requests are of the form:

http://asterank.com/api/mpc?query={query}&limit={limit}

MPC results are parsed as per the orbit format specified here. In some cases, a field may not be present in the results if it was not present in MPCORB.dat. This can be treated as an empty or unspecified attribute.

Sample Request

This request returns 10 asteroids with roughly circular orbits, low inclination, and semi-major axis less than 1.5 AU:

/api/mpc?query={"e":{"$lt":0.1},"i":{"$lt":4},"a":{"$lt":1.5}}&limit=10

Results:

[
   {
      "rms":0.52,
      "epoch":"K134I",
      "readable_des":"(138911) 2001 AE2",
      "H":19.1,
      "num_obs":366,
      "ref":"MPO229693",
      "G":0.15,
      "last_obs":"20120417",
      "comp":"MPCLINUX  ",
      "M":199.38482,
      "U":" ",
      "e":0.0816832,
      "a":1.3496897,
      "om":171.48693,
      "pert_p":"38h",
      "d":0.62856933,
      "i":1.66115,
      "des":"D8911",
      "flags":"0804",
      "num_opp":8,
      "w":43.09756,
      "pert_c":"M-v"
   },
   {
      "rms":0.5,
      "epoch":"K134I",
      "readable_des":"(163000) 2001 SW169",
      "H":19.0,
      "num_obs":429,
      "ref":"MPO232154",
      "G":0.15,
      "last_obs":"20120506",
      "comp":"MPCLINUX  ",
      "M":157.71014,
      "U":" ",
      "e":0.0515752,
      "a":1.2484544,
      "om":8.4609,
      "pert_p":"38h",
      "d":0.70655345,
      "i":3.55425,
      "des":"G3000",
      "flags":"0804",
      "num_opp":5,
      "w":284.78542,
      "pert_c":"M-v"
   },
   ...
]
  

Other APIs coming soon

Asterank has processed NASA/JPL Horizons data and we've built our own internal tools for estimating economic value and composition.