Table information for 'mpc.mpcorb'


This table is available for ADQL queries and through the TAP endpoint.

Resource Description:

Complete Asteroid Data from the Minor Planet Center (MPC), updated once per month. The MPC operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under the auspices of Division III of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

The MPC Orbit database contains orbital elements of minor planets that have been published in the Minor Planet Circulars, the Minor Planet Orbit Supplement and the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars.

For a list of all services and tables belonging to this table's resource, see Information on resource 'Minor Planet Center - Asteroid Orbital Data'

Resource Reference URL:

Citing this table

This table has an associated publication. If you use data from it, it may be appropriate to reference 1980CeMec..22...63M (ADS BibTeX entry for the publication) either in addition to or instead of the service reference.

To cite the table as such, we suggest the following BibTeX entry:

  title={Minor Planet Center - Asteroid Orbital Data},
  author={Williams, G. and Keys, S. and Rudenko, M. and Galache, J.L.},
  howpublished={{VO} resource provided by the {GAVO} Data Center}


Sorted by DB column index. [Sort alphabetically]

NameTable Head DescriptionUnitUCD
designation Number/Prov. Asteroid number or provisional designation. N/A;meta.main
mag Mag Absolute Magnitude of the asteroid, i.e., the magnitude of the asteroid at a distance of 1 AU when viewed at a phase angle of 0°. mag phys.magAbs
slope Slope Slope Parameter G. It describes how the magnitude of the asteroid varies as a function of changing illumination (phase angle) N/A src.morph.param
orb_epoch Epoch Epoch of the orbit (julian years) a time.epoch
mean_anomaly Mean Anom. Mean anomaly at the epoch deg src.orbital.meanAnomaly
arg_perihel Arg. Perihel. Argument of Perihelion, J2000.0 deg src.orbital.periastron
long_asc Asc. Node Longitude of ascending node, J2000.0 deg src.orbital.node
inclination i Inclination of the orbit to the ecliptic, J2000.0 deg src.orbital.inclination
eccentricity e Eccentricity of the orbit N/A src.orbital.eccentricity
mean_motion Mean Motion Mean Daily Motion deg/d;arith.diff;phys.veloc
semimaj_ax Semimaj. ax. Orbital semimajor axis AU phys.size.smajAxis
uncertainty_parameter Uncertainty Quality code (0 is best) as per Or: E -- the orbital eccentricity was assumed; D -- for one-opposition orbits this means a double (or multiple) designation is involved; F -- an e-assumed double (or multiple) designation is involved. N/A meta.code.error
bib_reference Ref Origin of the data N/A meta.bib
n_obs #Obs Number of Observations N/A meta.number;obs
n_opp #Opp Number of Oppositions N/A meta.number
arc_length Arc Length of observed arcs for single-opposition orbits. d time.interval
first_obs Disc. year Discovery year for multi-opposition orbits. a time.epoch
rms_fit rms RMS Residual of orbital fit arcsec
perturbers Perturbers Information on orbit perturbers; see table note. [Note 1] N/A meta.note
computer Computer Identifies the computer of the orbit N/A meta.note
orbit_class Class Orbit family this object belongs to (note that the classification is based on cuts in osculating element space and is not 100% reliable. N/A src.class
orbit_flags Flags Additional classification flag(s) as comma-separated human-readable phrases N/A src.class
name Name Human-readable designation of the Asteroid. N/A
last_obs Last Obs. Date of last observation a time.epoch;obs
alt_target_name Alt_target_name N/A N/A N/A

Columns that are parts of indices are marked like this.


The following services may use the data contained in this table:


VO nerds may sometimes need VOResource XML for this table.


Note 1

More information is available at

The first part of this is a descriptor of the system used for the perturbing planets according to the follow scheme:

(space) Undefined/unknown, assume JPL DE200 positions + masses
d JPL DE200 positions + masses
f JPL DE245 positions + masses
h JPL DE403 positions + masses
j JPL DE405 positions + masses

The second part is a two-digit hexadecimal number to be interpreted bitwise (this was taken literally from the MPC data and will probably be parsed out at some point). In the meantime, here is the key to the bits:

Perturber Bit Value  
Hygiea 0 1  
Earth 1 2 Bits 1 + 2 must both be set or both be unset!
Moon 2 4
Ceres 3 8  
Pallas 4 16  
Vesta 5 32  
Eunomia 6 64  

Sum the values of the included perturbers and convert to hexadecimal. Since orbits will always include the major planets Mercury to Neptune there is no need to include these bodies in the above scheme (other than allowing the earth and moon to be treated separately).

Some examples of coarse and precise indicators are:

Coarse Precise Perturbers (Mercury-Neptune+...)

The default for Minor Planet Center orbits will henceforth be h (DE403), M-v (coarse) and 38 or 3E (precise, depending on whether the object is an earth-approacher or not). Additional perturbers will be added as necessary.

Copyright and such:

This research has made use of data and/or services provided by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. Updated data files are available at