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The new Synodic Orbit Visualisation Tool for NEOs
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ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre has just expanded its suite of tools within the NEO Toolkit with the Synodic Orbit Visualisation Tool (SOVT). The SOVT is an advanced NEO trajectory visualiser which uses a rotating reference frame that follows the motion of Earth about the Sun. The tool allows to represent the relative trajectory of an NEO in a 3D synodic reference system. It can also show the NEO observability region in 3D for a certain telescope on Earth (defined by the telescope limiting visual magnitude), in a shape that we call the “detection polar”. This allows creating an instant overview about if and when an object might be observable. The tool makes use of the H-G magnitude system in order to compute this 3D detection polar.

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Caption: Synodic trajectory of Apophis with respect to the Earth between March 2021 and March 2034. The observability of the asteroid in a telescope with a limiting visual magnitude of 18 mag is provided through the detection polar surfaces represented in yellow. Credits: ESA / PDO.