This item is based on an exchange of E-mail messages on the Minor Planet Mailing List
Tim Spahr put together a list of the most common mistakes he finds in astrometric material submitted to the Minor Planet Center:
Bill Gray provided a very useful check to verify that one's time is accurate:
May I suggest that one way of checking this is to observe a really fast moving artificial satellite, such as 1969-046F. If your timing isn't right, it will be apparent right away (poor match between your observations and the ephemerides.) And if your timing _is_ right, we can use your data to polish up future ephemerides.
You can get ephemerides for some of these objects from the MPC's Earth-Orbiting Space "Junk" Page,
and some more info about them at
Also, you can get ephemerides for CXO (Chandra X-Ray Observatory) and INTEGRAL from JPL's Horizons:
Both might make good "practice" targets. If you get astrometry for these or other artificial satellites, please send it to MPC and to email@example.com .