Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT

Target NEOs! Searching for and Characterizing Asteroids via Citizen Science

Citizen scientists have always played an important role in astronomy. By capturing images of known asteroids over a long time period, amateur astronomers, students and the public can contribute to the characterization (physical understanding of asteroids) with Target NEOs! and other citizen science programs. Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) include asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood. Amateur astronomers and astronomy organizations such as the Martz-Kohl Observatory, have access to research grade instrumentation and have the ability to devote time making observations that can fill in the gaps for professional astronomers who often are able to observe only a few asteroids a few nights per year.

While it can be difficult for amateur astronomers without the right resources to compete with the big asteroid search surveys like PanSTARRS in Hawaii and the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, there are opportunities to search images provided during special campaigns from the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).

Dolores Hill will be leading this presentation with a tag team of Dr. Patrick Miller and Carl Hergenrother.

Dolores Hill is a Senior Research Specialist, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, at the University of Arizona. Since 1981 she has analyzed a wide range of meteorites at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, AZ, provided technical support, and participated in public outreach for space missions and LPL laboratories. Dolores currently works with sample teams for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, LPL laboratories, and coordinates LPL outreach activities. She is a volunteer co-coordinator of the Astronomical League’s Target NEOs! observing program, formerly the mission’s Target Asteroids! citizen science program that was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Citizen Science in 2013. Dolores has a lifelong interest in amateur astronomy. Near-Earth asteroid (164215) Doloreshill is named after her.

Dr. Patrick Miller is a professor of mathematics at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX. He also teaches astronomy and astronomical research methods at the University. He founded the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) in October 2006, and serves as the Vice-President of the Permanent Council of the Global Hands-On Universe Association. Asteroid (4984) Patrickmiller is named in his honor.

Carl Hergenrother is co-coordinator of the Astronomical League’s Target NEOs! and an astronomer and discoverer of minor planets and comets. He has discovered and co-discovered 32 numbered asteroids at the Bigelow Sky Survey during 1993–1999. He was also a member of the science and operations team of the 2016-launched OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, a sample return mission to study near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu. The asteroid (3099) Hergenrother is named in his honor.


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Time: Jul 21, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time
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