Asteroid Hunting – Astronomy 3.0

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

The rise of citizen science has allowed the general public to engage with professional astronomers to make real scientific contributions. In this world of data connectivity, space telescopes and robotic earth based telescopes – the modern astronomer is not necessarily the lonely person out in the cold on a dark mountain. The 3.0 Astronomer leverages the community, social media and mines torrents of data.

You will become a citizen scientist participating in an asteroid hunt and learn about other projects you can participate in.

What will we cover?

The class will give an introduction to citizen science in the field of astronomy.

We will process images of a Carbonaceous Asteroid on its journey past earth and submit the data to the OSIRIS-Rex NASA Goddard Space Institute/Arizona University – Target Asteroids observation campaign. (If the weather doesn’t permit – we will use some backup images but still measure the path of the asteroid.) OSIRIS-Rex is the name of a space mission to asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36, a 500m Asteroid which has a 1:1800 chance of hitting the earth in 2182. So it’s important we know where it is!

During the class you will:

  • Process asteroid images
  • Find faint asteroids in “blinked” 3 image animations
  • Measure the asteroid positions
  • Report the positions to the OSIRIS-Rex Program

The class will have handouts for other Citizen Science projects you can do on your desktop, like measuring and classifying Moon Craters, and looking for Kuiper Belt Objects with the Citizen Science community.

Who will be teaching?

Peter LakePeter Lake is an amateur astronomer who works in Corporate IT. He is a member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers and Variable Stars South. He recovered potentially hazardous asteroid  (162422) 2000 EV70 as a volunteer in “Spacewatch – Fast moving objects”, one of the very first citizen science projects back in 2004. Peter has since co-authored a science paper on Cataclysmic variable stars and done valuable research on exo-planets and supported the Hubble Space Telescope mission with targeted observations.

Peter’s popular blog regularly carries news of amateur astronomers supporting real science, and other citizen science activities.