Everybody is reading this page (i.e. has got a PC connected to the Web) and owns a telescope with a CCD camera can virtually start measuring the position of asteroids and comets, which is called astrometry: the more those measures are accurate (less than one arcsec), the better the orbit of the celestial body is known, and this is very important for asteroids and comets which approach the Earth's orbit or are targets of spacecrafts.
Astrometry indeed is one of the fields where amateur astronomers can collaborate with professionals at the same level, and this is evident in the official reports known as Minor Planet Circulars prepared by MPC, where single amateurs and the world most famous astronomical sites like E.S.O., Kitt Peak, Siding Spring, etc. publish their observations together (see below...)

abstract MPC

The same instruments used in astrometric routine work could be employed in asteroid hunting, possibly with robotic telescopes to increase the efficiency: the methodology is to compare two images of the same part of the sky taken with, say, a 30 min. interval, and look for not-catalogued objects which have meanwhile moved.
If the further observations allow to calculate the orbit with the sufficient accuracy, the people who have discovered the new celestial body will have the privilege to name it as they want.

Comet C/1998 M5 LINEAR
Comet C/1998 M5 LINEAR has moved during half an hour interval: the two images (stacked together and then animated) have been taken at Grange Observatory on the evening of Sep. 18th, 1998 with CCD SXL8, 60 s exposure each.

What's needed for the astrometric activity:

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