Find an Asteroid 2018
October 31, 2018 - November 28, 2018
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) are sponsoring a special asteroid search campaign during the month of November, which will run for 4 weeks from the October 31st to November 28th, 2018.
Your team will have a chance to be selected amongst 30 schools and teams worldwide to participate in the Find an Asteroid 2018 search campaign.
Asteroids are rocky, airless worlds that orbit our Sun, but are too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands cluster in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids within a close proximity to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs.
Asteroids can be classified based on their size, composition, colour, position in the solar system and even how they were formed! They can range in size from Vesta—the largest at about 329 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter – to bodies that are less than 33 feet (10 meters) across.
(Fun fact: The total mass of all the asteroids combined is less than that of our Earth’s Moon.)
It important that we learn more about asteroids, through further research and documentation since asteroids can tell us about the origins of our solar system and even the origins of life itself. Asteroids are discovered with the help of (optical) telescopes by amateur astronomers, using specialized software even you can make such a discovery!
So to continue this initiative, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) together with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC. pronounced ”Isaac”) is giving your team the opportunity to make your own discoveries by participating in the Find an Asteroid Campaign 2018!
Teams receive telescopic images, only hours old and taken along the ecliptic. Using the software Astrometrica, they can accurately measure the time and position of asteroids moving in the background.
These measurements can then be recorded in a report to be sent to IASC.
Weather permitting, each team receives 25 unique sets of images during the campaign. Team members can download each image set and search them for asteroids just hours after they have been taken along the celestial ecliptic at the University of Hawaii (Pan-STARRS).
Teams use the Astrometrica software, with IASC teachers who have participated in asteroid search campaigns available through the website to answer questions by email and help with learning how to properly use the software.
Each year 1000 teams participate from more than 80 countries. Since starting in October 2006, over 1500 asteroids have been discovered, of which 52 have been numbered by the International Astronomical Union (Paris). Numbered asteroids are recorded in the world’s official minor planet catalog and can even be named by their student discoverers.