In partnership with Asteroid Day and Universe Awareness, the global telescope network at Las Cumbres Observatory is inviting you to join professional astronomers in tracking one of two asteroids chosen especially for Asteroid Day on June 30, 2016. Add your email address so that some observations are scheduled in your name. You’ll get updates on the observations made of your asteroid.
Anyone can sign up to help this effort until 00:00 UTC on July 1 (translate to your time zone) at asteroidday.lcogt.net. Las Cumbers Observatory, which has 18 professional robotic telescopes at seven remote astronomical sites across the globe, said in a statement:
With this website, you can join the international campaign to study and raise awareness about asteroids.
By entering your email address, you will trigger observations on the global telescope network. Once your observations have been taken they are automatically combined with all other images of the selected asteroid, into a time-lapse video. You can view all of this on the Las Cumbres Observatory Asteroid Day website.
Las Cumbres Observatory’s Education Director Edward Gomez said:
Taking images of asteroids can be an involved process because they are moving through space. We wanted to simplify this process, making it into a single click that triggers a request for images on Las Cumbres Observatory.
Sarah Greenstreet, post-doctoral fellow on the Las Cumbres Observatory NEO team, added:
We chose two asteroids we wanted to study further, that would be passing close to Earth around Asteroid Day. By combining observations made by the public with some of our own we hope to learn about how fast they are rotating and what their surface is made from.
Asteroid Day is held each year on June 30, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.
Bottom line: Sign up with Las Cumbres Observatory to track asteroids on Asteroid Day.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.