Asteroids are small rocky bodies that are leftover building blocks from the formation of our solar system. Many of those can be found in the asteroid belt orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Others have different orbits around the Sun and can come close to Earth, in this case they are called Near Earth Objects (NEOs). Their size ranges from meters to kilometres in diameter. Due to the potential danger they can pose, it is important to know our cosmic neighbourhood very well. The more objects we are aware of and know about their orbits, the better we are prepared in case one of them gets too close. For detailed information about asteroids and NEOs, please check out SGAC’s NEO documentary here and see the links at the bottom of the NEO Working Group page.
As mentioned, it is important to know how many asteroids are out there and what characteristics they have (size, orbit, etc.). Asteroids are discovered with the help of (optical) telescopes by amateur astronomers. In most cases, pictures of a certain region of the sky are taken a few minutes or hours apart. Since stars do not change positions relative to each other, every moving object is potentially an asteroid (it could also be a satellite). Using special software YOU can make such a discovery.
SGAC gives you the opportunity to take part in an Asteroid Search Campaign. Partnering with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, and supported by the Minor Planet Center, SGAC has slots available for 10 -15 teams to participate. Team up with your SGAC friends and start hunting!