Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UK pupils scan the skies for hazardous asteroids

06.10.2004


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:
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>