Astrophysics (Index)About

provisional designation

(way to designate newly discovered solar system objects)

Provisional designation systems have been devised to label objects that have just been discovered. Distant objects can be immediately labeled by their position on the celestial sphere, but for newly-discovered solar system objects (e.g., minor planets), a system independent of position is necessary. A survey-based designator is often used, but general systems have also been adopted that uses the date and order of discovery. The need for such a system stems from the huge number of objects discovered, and that mixed with the established discoveries are observations insufficient to rule out known objects or gleaning inadequate information to enable identification of the same object in the future.

The system for minor planets:

DDDD AAnumber

Example: 2016 EK156

Permanent numbers are also assigned to minor planets when they receive their provisional designation and are kept by minor planets subsequently given a permanent name. The term numbered object refers to a minor planet that has received such a number.

For comets, a system is used that is different in detail, but is also based on the year.

(astronomy,designation,solar system)
Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
101955 Bennu
minor planet
New Horizons (NF1)