Apostolos Christou and David Asher, in collaboration with the summer 2004 work-experience student Sharon McClure (Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor, Co. Down), have conducted astrometric observations of main-belt and near-Earth asteroids using the Observatory's ST-7 CCD camera attached to the Armagh Planetarium's 10-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Three main-belt asteroids were observed, namely (304)Olga, (849)Ara and (1146)Biarmia. One near-Earth asteroid, namely (1685)Toro, was also observed during a moderately close approach to the Earth. These are the first CCD observations of asteroids, and of near-Earth asteroids in particular, to be carried out from the Armagh Observatory, and represent the first precise astrometry to be carried out at the Armagh Observatory since a woefully inaccurate position of (209)Dido was published forty years ago! The observations obtained in summer 2004 were reported to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Apostolos Christou, David Asher and Sharon McClure also observed and imaged the unusual near-Earth asteroid 2000PH during its close approach to the Earth around 27 July 2004. These observations were carried out remotely using the new 2m aperture Faulkes Telescope North, situated on the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakala, on the island of Maui in Hawaii. They also formed part of Sharon McClure's summer work experience project, which was supported by the Nuffield Science Bursary Scheme, which is run by the Sentinus programme in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown. It is believed that these observations were also the first Earth-approaching near-Earth asteroid to be observed with the Faulkes Telescope (see http://star.arm.ac.uk/press/2000PH5.html).