Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Amateur astronomers boost ESA’s asteroid hunt

Date:
May 14, 2012
Source:
European Space Agency (ESA)
Summary:
ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme is keeping watch over space hazards, including disruptive space weather, debris objects in Earth orbit and asteroids that pass close enough to cause concern.

2m Faulkes North Telescope at Haleakalā, Hawaii, USA.
Credit: Faulkes Telescope Project

ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme is keeping watch over space hazards, including disruptive space weather, debris objects in Earth orbit and asteroids that pass close enough to cause concern.

Related Articles


The asteroids -- known as 'near-Earth objects', or NEOs, since they cross Earth's orbit -- are a particular problem.

Any attempt to survey and catalogue hazardous asteroids faces a number of difficulties. They're often jet black or at least very dark, they can approach rather too close before anyone sees them, and they're often spotted only once and then disappear before the discovery can be confirmed.

Crowdsourcing the astronomy community

So ESA is turning to amateur astronomers to 'crowdsource' observations as part of Europe's contribution to the global asteroid hunt. These efforts will add to the follow-up observations already done at ESA's own telescope on Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

This month, the UK's Faulkes Telescope Project will become the latest team to formally support the SSA programme. Spain's La Sagra Sky Survey, operated by the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca, began helping SSA earlier this year.

Sharing expertise and observing time

"The wider astronomy community offers a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm, and they have the time and patience to verify new sightings; this helps tremendously," says Detlef Koschny, Head of NEO activity at ESA's SSA programme office.

"In return, we share observing time at ESA's own Optical Ground Station in Tenerife and provide advice, support and professional validation. We'll assist them in any way we can."

The Faulkes Telescope Project runs both educational and research programmes, based at the University of Glamorgan in the UK.

Public education and outreach

The project has a strong record in public education and science outreach, and is a partner of the US-based Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope network, which owns and operates two telescopes. Faulkes supports hundreds of schools across Europe.

"Our new cooperation with ESA is a great opportunity. Use of the 2 m-diameter telescopes in Hawaii and Siding Spring, Australia, will greatly enhance asteroid-spotting for the SSA programme, enabling fainter object detection and tracking from a global telescope network," says Nick Howes, Pro-Am Programme Manager at the Faulkes Telescope.

"For European students, collaborating on exciting ESA activities and possibly detecting new NEOs is very appealing, as it's engagement with one of the world's great space agencies doing critical scientific work."

ESA's SSA programme is developing services and infrastructure to enable Europe to observe NEOs, predict their orbits, produce impact warnings and be involved in possible mitigation measures and civil response.

It will also provide services to monitor human-made debris objects in orbit that can pose hazards to satellites and to monitor the effects of space weather phenomena on space and ground assets.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency (ESA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency (ESA). "Amateur astronomers boost ESA’s asteroid hunt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122644.htm>.
European Space Agency (ESA). (2012, May 14). Amateur astronomers boost ESA’s asteroid hunt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122644.htm
European Space Agency (ESA). "Amateur astronomers boost ESA’s asteroid hunt." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122644.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

Newsy (Mar. 28, 2015) Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year in space running tests on human physiology and psychology. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 28, 2015) Russian-U.S. crew arrives safely at the International Space Station for the start of a ground-breaking year-long stay. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) The Asteroid Retrieval Mission announced this week bears little resemblance to its grand beginnings. Even NASA scientists are asking, "Why bother?" Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) NASA TV footage shows the successful docking of a Russian Soyuz craft to the International Space Station for a year-long mission. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins