|Background||The Search Campaign||How to Apply and Requirements||Key Dates||FAQs|
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time will I need to spend each week?
Your team will get 3-5 image sets per week. This is an average depending upon the Moon and weather. It takes about 20 minutes to analyse one set. Add some time to prepare the MPC report and we are talking about 1.5 to 2 hours per week.
Do I need to have any knowledge about asteroids or have experience in searching for them?
No, you can join the search even if you know nothing about asteroids. It will be a great way to learn about them. You can find more information about asteroids and NEOs in our link section at the bottom of the main page of the NEO WG.
Can I participate without a team?
Yes, in case of free slots you will form a team with other team-less applicants.
Can I sign up while still searching for additional team members?
Yes, you can already sign up. Once you find other people who want to join your team, they should mention your name in the field of the application form, so we can group you together.
Does my team have to be located in the same city?
No, you do not have to be located in the same city to work on the images. Although you can of course meet face-to-face to analyse the data, you can work via internet with other team members in other locations of your country or even around the globe.
How will the teams be selected?
The teams will be selected on the one paragraph description of the team member’s individual motivations (80%) as well as their regional distribution (20%). Teams slots will first be filled with complete teams, then free slots are filled with individuals without a team.
How can I prepare for the campaign?
Once selected, we will ask each team to do a tutorial of the Astrometrica software and practice by themselves. The SGAC NEO PROJECT GROUPS will provide assistance if you have any questions.
What if I miss an image set due to exams or other reasons?
Missing an image set every once in a while can happen, so don’t worry too much about it, especially if you inform your team beforehand so they can adjust to the situation. Should it happen that an entire team misses image sets repeatedly, teams will not be sent any new images and the campaign is over for them. Therefore, try your best to analyse each image set - this also increases your chances of discovering an asteroid.
Where do the images come from?
IASC works with the Astronomical Research Institute (Westfield, IL), Pan-STARRS (University of Hawaii), and the National Astronomical Observatories of China (Xinglong Station). ARI data is provided year-round while PS1 and Xinglong data are available at different times throughout the year (e.g., October - December, March - May for PS1). Images are usually taken the night before being sent to the participating teams.
What kind of asteroids can I find?
To date students participating in IASC have made 327 preliminary MBA (Main Belt Asteroid) discoveries, of which two are NEOs (one is a PHA) and one is a Trojan. 15 have been catalogued and numbered with the student discoverers now proposing their own names to the IAU.
What happens when I discover an asteroid?
IASC will handle many of the follow-ups for the student discoveries. They use the Faulkes Telescope Program (2-m), the 1.3-m RCT at Kitt Peak maintained by Western Kentucky University, and 0.81-m RC at Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX). IASC also make use of the Sierra Stars Observatory Network (Markleeville, CA), which has a 0.61-m and 0.81-m. The 0.61-m at the Shiaparelli Observatory (Northern Italy), 2.5-m at Magdalena Ridge Observatory, and 0.81-m at the ARI are used upon special request for fast and slow movers (e.g., NEOs and Trojans). In case the follow-up confirms your discovery, it is given a provisional designation by the Minor Planet Center. In 3-6 years as additional observations are made and the orbit is fully determined, the asteroid is numbered and placed into the world's official minor planets catalog by the International Astronomical Union. Numbered asteroids can be named by their discoverers.
What if I didn’t get selected but still want to participate in an asteroid search campaign?
IASC offers asteroid search campaigns thoughout the year for schools. You can ask a teacher of your school if he/she would support participating in a search with your school. For more information how to apply with your school, go to the IASC website.