The International Astronomical Search Collaboration - Target Asteroids! Observing Campaign No Telescope or CCD Camera Needed!
Target Asteroids! (TA!) is expanding its program with its partner, the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) so more amateur astronomers can track near-Earth asteroids. This collaboration between two highly successful asteroid programs fills a need of observers who lack adequate equipment or live in light-polluted areas. The IASC- Target Asteroids! Observing Campaignruns from October 27 through December 1, 2013. The sign up period is October 1-10. Now more citizen scientists can make much-needed measurements of TA! asteroids and possibly discover new asteroids in the process in the comfort of their homes! More amateur astronomers will be able to participate to support the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and other spacecraft missions to asteroids with their observations.
Target Asteroids! Program
Target Asteroids! is a citizen science program of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. Co-leads Dolores Hill of the Communication and Public Engagement Team and Carl Hergenrother of the Science Team run the program. Amateur astronomer-citizen scientists are front and center in the efforts to learn more about asteroids and protect our planet. Citizen scientists provide valuable data to help planetary scientists characterize near-Earth asteroids and understand the process by which Main Belt asteroids may become near-Earth asteroids - essential steps to ascertaining the risk of impact with Earth that may affect the world’s inhabitants. Observing targets include carbon-rich near-Earth asteroids and Main Belt asteroids that are analogs to the OSIRIS-REx target (101955) Bennu.
For more information about:
IASC (pronounced “Isaac”)
The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) is directed by Dr. Patrick Miller, of Hardin-Simmons University. Dr. Miller coordinates images, observers, and measurers through special observing campaigns. Originally IASC focused on discovery of new asteroids in proprietary observatory images for hundreds of schools all over the world. As an important Target Asteroids! partner, IASC has expanded the program to include the upcoming special Target Asteroids! Observing Campaign for individual amateur astronomers. Past IASC campaigns have included NASA WISE, Astronomers Without Borders in support of Global Astronomy Month, and the Space Generation Advisory Council.
For more information about IASC: http://iasc.hsutx.edu/
TA! co-leads select campaign participants and help them learn how to use specialized software for measuring asteroid astrometry and photometry. There is no cost to the campaign participant. While first priority is given to already-registered TA! participants, newly registered participants may be added depending on the number of telescope images available. Registered participants known as “measurers” provide important data for the campaign. In addition, the IASC Data Reduction Team (IDaRT) also looks at the images independently of the teams and prepares the master report for the Minor Planet Center and Target Asteroids!.
The first annual IASC-TA! Campaign will use images provided by Robert Holmes of the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) located in Westfield, Illinois from his 0.61-meter and 0.81-meter prime focus telescopes. This award-winning, world-class observatory is a longtime contributor to asteroid research with thousands of observations under its belt. ARI provides 3-5 asteroid image sets per week per team of two to three measurers during the IASC-TA! Campaign.
Carl Hergenrother, asteroid astronomy lead on the OSIRIS-REx Science Team and Target Asteroids! co-lead, advises IASC on the best targets for a given time period. For Fall 2013 near-Earth asteroids (3361) Orpheus and 2007 SJ and dark Main Belt asteroid (447) Valentine will have high priority among others. These three have not yet been observed by Target Asteroids! observers. So you can be the first to submit observations on these important asteroids!
The Data and Scientific Impact:
A mere point of light in the night sky becomes a world to explore.
Position (astrometry) and brightness (photometry) data submitted to the IASC-Target Asteroids! Observing Campaign for a particular asteroid are combined with data from other amateur astronomers and professional astronomers. When sufficient observations are gathered, scientists can determine asteroid absolute magnitude, color, type of asteroid, reflectivity, and size. This information is important to planetary scientists to improve their understanding of asteroids and also to spacecraft mission planners for the selection of asteroid targets. In addition, many astrometric observations made over a long time, give insight into the orbital evolution of near-Earth objects (NEOs) - how they become NEOs and whether or not they will someday become potentially hazardous asteroids to Earth's inhabitants. And that is important to everyone!
We invite you to join Target Asteroids! in this important endeavor!
To register for this IASC-TA! Fall 2013 campaign and receive more details contact Target Asteroids! co-leads, Carl Hergenrother and Dolores Hill, at email@example.com
Dr. Patrick Miller is the enthusiastic director of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org