I am the former Acting Deputy Director at the IAU's Minor Planet Center, located at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The MPC is the official body that deals with astrometric observations and orbits of minor planets (asteroids, natural satellites) and comets. We receive observations from all over the world, process and catalog them, then make them available via our public database.

Maybe the most important thing the MPC does is keep track of NEOs (Near Earth Objects), flying pieces of rock or ice that live in the Earth's neighbourhood and might one day pose a threat to our planet if we cross paths and they crash into us. Fear not, there are no large-body impacts anticipated within the next few decades. If you want to check for yourself, we keep a list of what's coming close to us within the next 33 years.

Past areas of research include X-ray binaries, both high- and low-mass, with neutron stars or black holes, both within the Milky Way and in other galaxies, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud, M31 (Andromeda), NGC 922 or IC 10.