Surely the world needs more minds to help locate asteroids. You never know when one can hit our planet and cause devastating aftermaths. But astronomers are now recruiting volunteers for seeking those space rocks that “play in the lower leagues”.
According to Newsweek.com, astronomers are looking for “citizen scientists” to contribute to an effort of finding hints to two great mysteries of the Cosmos. They want to track down the origin of water and hope to find clues of life existing elsewhere besides Earth.
Looking for “active” asteroids
Colin Orion Chandler, Ph.D. candidate in astronomy, has launched a crowdsourcing project that addresses volunteers for identifying “active asteroids”.
There’s no wonder how astronomers seek help from volunteers to find active asteroids. These space rocks are very rare in the Cosmos. Searching for one is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Despite having asteroid-like orbits, active asteroids also feature comet-like traits.
Colin Orion Chandler declared as quoted by Newsweek.com:
With the generous help of ‘citizen scientists,’ we hope to quadruple the number of known active asteroids and encourage study of an ambiguous population of solar system objects, knowledge of which is currently hampered due to a very small sample size.
“Active” asteroids possess comae, tails, or other evidence of mass-loss, resembling comets. However, their orbit remains within the one of Jupiter, which is a characterizing trait of asteroids.
Asteroids are generally located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. These small cosmic objects orbit the Sun just like planets do. Astronomers estimate that the asteroid belt contains between 1.1 million and 1.9 million asteroids that are larger than 0.6 miles in diameter. There are also millions of smaller asteroids.