Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UK pupils scan the skies for hazardous asteroids


Tracking newly discovered asteroids and comets to identify their orbits is the work of a small number of observatories. Yet UK students, using the Faulkes Telescope North - a remotely operated research quality telescope dedicated for educational use - will now be swelling these ranks. The students have taken such accurate data of a number of asteroids that the telescope has been awarded an observatory code and can now submit official data to the international body that monitors asteroids and comets, the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU’s) Minor Planet Centre.

M16 is a beautiful star cluster still surrounded by its embryonic gas and dust cloud. New stars are still forming in this region which lies 7,000 light years away, seen in the constellation Serpens.

The students, at King’s School in Canterbury, have been aided by their teacher Dr Andrew Taylor and Dr Lothar Kurtze, from Technische Universität in Darmstadt. Over the period of a month, several asteroids were observed to demonstrate the high quality of the images and the telescope’s ability to accurately track asteroids, an area of research called astrometry.

Dr Andrew Taylor says, “It’s great to be working alongside professional astronomers, and using the Faulkes Telescope North is extremely simple over the internet. The students are thrilled to be making a valuable contribution in this important area of research.”

In achieving the IAU code, users of the Faulkes Telescope North can now follow in the steps of Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine, head of the Astrometrics Lab. She uses astrometry to plot courses for the starship to avoid hazardous areas and enemies! By using the Faulkes Telescope Project students can help provide astrometric information about the orbits of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets.

Most asteroids are discovered by a limited number of search projects which are then observed by amateur astronomers using fairly small telescopes. All new discoveries must have ‘follow-up’ observations made in order to determine accurately the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun. The follow-up observations are vital and using the new observatory code this can now be carried out by UK schools. The Faulkes Telescope Project and the Spaceguard Centre have jointly developed a programme where asteroids can be tracked, including those objects which are too small and faint to be seen with small telescopes.

Jay Tate, Director of the Spaceguard Centre says, “This is a tremendous achievement for the Faulkes Telescope Project and the students and teachers that have carried out the work. The UK can now, for the first time, make a very significant contribution to the global asteroid tracking network, and it will be schools around the country that will be doing real, cutting edge work that equals that done by professionals!”

Anyone using the Faulkes Telescope North can search for new asteroids or make follow-up observations of recent discoveries and can now get them officially recognised. This presents excellent opportunities for not only schools but also the amateur astronomy community who otherwise may not be able to access such state-of-the-art telescopes.

Currently there are only six working observatories in the UK which have this honour and none of the telescopes can compete with the size and capability of the Faulkes Telescope on the Hawaiian island of Maui which is fully robotic and has a 2m diameter primary mirror.

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch
20.10.2016 | The Optical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>