Many guys have been dreaming of becoming astronauts when they were little. If you’re one of them and you’ve missed the boat, there’s no use dispairing! That’s because astronomers are now looking for help in order to find more asteroids that are hurtling through our Solar System. Whether they like to admit it or not, the Solar System is way too huge in order to be observed entirely, not to mention the observable Universe. And guess what? The Universe doesn’t give an atom if we like it or not.
The University of Arizona researchers are those in need of help to track down more asteroids. All you need is an internet connection and your electricity bills paid in order to qualify for the job.
The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory has a new program
Through an online portal, those willing to become asteroid hunters can join the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey and help discover and identify asteroids and comets that visit our cosmic vicinity, as SciTechDaily reveals. These celestial objects, which are remnants from the formation of our solar system, hold valuable information about the sun and planets.
Eric Christensen, the Catalina Sky Survey director, stated as SciTechDaily quotes:
The number of asteroids we detect per night with our telescope really depends on the weather or where we are in the lunar calendar,
On clear nights, the database matches tens of thousands of candidates to known asteroids based on their motion, speed and position in the sky.
Using the portal on Zooniverse, volunteers without specialized training have the chance to assist professional researchers by examining high-resolution telescope snapshots of the night sky. Participants are presented with sets of images taken by the Catalina Sky Survey telescopes, searching for moving specks of light that could be either asteroids or comets. Their task is to determine if the identified speck represents a genuine celestial body or a false detection caused by some factors.
The strength of the program lies in numbers, as participants’ collective efforts help analyze a large volume of data. The Catalina Sky Survey operates several telescopes each night to track over a million asteroids, with the aim of discovering and monitoring near-Earth objects (NEOs) that pose a potential threat to our planet.