2nd ALL-Sri Lanka Asteroid Search Campaign

ARIS Illustration

Selected Teams

35 Teams have been selected for the second All-Sri Lanka asteroid search campaign. If you are not selected this time, don't be discouraged. There will be another campaign in a few months, and you will be top contenders for the selections. click below to see the full list of selected teams.

Update (06 May 2020): Provincial Asteroid Discovered by Team Anandian Astronomical Association.

During the campaign citizen scientist teams across the island were able to make 316 PRELIMINARY main-belt asteroids discoveries. Today we got confirmation from IASC one asteroid from the campaign has granted the PROVINCIAL Status.

  • 2019 RQ17 P10RmFs G.D. Punchihewa, R.D. Balasooriya, S. Liyanaarchchi, S. Keerthirathne Anandian Astronomical Association Sri Lanka Provisional 09/04/19 AAA0089

This is a wonderful achievement by Sri Lankan researchers since provisional discoveries are very rare in main-belt small asteroids nowadays since most of the large objects have been already discovered. Sri Lanka only had detected only 3 provisional asteroids before Normally there is no detection of provisional observations found in most of the campaigns and only 5 - 20 even fewer numbers are detected by IASC throughout the year. International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center gives an official designation for each provisional asteroids. In layman's terms what this means is that once the orbit of the asteroid is confirmed by a sufficient number of observations researcher who found it can name the asteroid.

316 New Asteroids in The Solar System were discovered by Sri Lankan research students

International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) of Hardin-Simmons University at Texas - USA collaborating with Astronomical Research Institute, Sri Lanka(Local organizer), under the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) organized 2nd All-Sri Lanka Asteroid Search Campaign (ASASC). It was held from 23rd of August to 20th of September 2019 with the participation of 35 selected teams comprising 170 students, representing different schools, universities and science societies in all over the island.

We organized this research based event with leading international organizations for citizen scientists in Sri Lanka in order to give them a practical exposure to analyze scientific data taken from the large astronomical observatories in the world. Many training sessions were conducted by ARIS for participants to get prepared for the campaign successfully. During the campaign period, participants were able to access data taken from one of the world’s largest astronomical camera and analyzed them using online computer software. It was an invaluable opportunity for the Sri Lankan group of students to participate in such an internationally recognized research campaign through ARIS.

In this research campaign, Sri Lankan students have made a groundbreaking achievement by discovering 316 new main-belt asteroids in the Solar system. This achievement of Sri Lankan students was highly appreciated by international organizations and the discoveries were scientifically published by IASC. Discovering new asteroids is highly important for solving some unrevealed problems regarding the origin of our solar system, origin of life of earth and for measuring the dangers that could be caused by asteroids to life on Earth.


Here are the all the discoveries made by Sri Lankan Researchers in ASASC 2019. Click here to see the full list.

Useful Links

  • ARIS Astromectica Training Materials: https://github.com/sankhaKarunasekara/ASASC2019
  • Astrometica Home page: http://iasc.cosmosearch.org/Home/Astrometrica
  • All Sri Lankan Asteroid Searching Campaign: http://iasc.cosmosearch.org/
  • Discoveries & Observations update: http://iasc.cosmosearch.org/Home/Discoveries
  • Minor planet center report spec: https://minorplanetcenter.net//iau/info/OpticalObs.html
  • Astrometrica FAQ: http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/documents/IASC%20FAQ.pdf
  • Minor Planet DB Search: https://minorplanetcenter.net/db_search

2nd All Sri Lanka Asteroid Search Campaign

It's time to detect asteroids before they engulf you! Grab the chance of finding asteroids through real data analysis and of putting your preferite names on them! Discovering something in outer space is an amazing opportunity, but naming them is definitely unique! Astronomical Research Institute, Sri Lanka in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration presents the All Sri Lankan Asteroids Searching Campaign.

Cetificate holders
Floating cubes

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

Anyone who is in a high school (class 10-13), Universities and Young Professionals who wants to have hands-on experience to make original discoveries searching asteroid from world-class telescopes can participate in the program.

How can I participate?

Interested students/school/ young professionals send the duly filled application form attached in here. After carefully evaluate the applications will select the teams for the campaign

Is there any limitation for the team registration?

Each team can have a maximum of five participants. As we are looking for enthusiasts/hardworking and passionate researchers/ hunters who are looking for an opportunity to get original astronomical discoveries during their life.

Can I participate without a team?

Yes, in case of free slots you will form a team with other team-less applicants.

How much time will I need to spend each week?

Your team will get 3-5 image sets per week. This is an average depending upon the Moon and weather. It takes about 20 minutes to analyse one set. Add some time to prepare the MPC report and we are talking about 1.5 to 2 hours per week.

Do I need to have any knowledge about asteroids or have experience in searching for them?

No, you can join the search even if you know nothing about asteroids. It will be a great way to learn about them.

Does my team have to be located in the same city?

No, you do not have to be located in the same city to work on the images. Although you can of course meet face-to-face to analyse the data, you can work via internet with other team members as well.

How will the teams be selected?

The teams will be selected on the one paragraph description of the team member’s individual motivations (80%) as well as their regional distribution (20%).

How can I prepare for the campaign?

Once selected, we will ask each team to do a tutorial of the Astrometrica software and practice by themselves. And also before the campaign commence, we will do training workshop of how to use Astrometrica and How to detect the true signatures.

What if I miss an image set due to exams or other reasons?

Missing an image set every once in a while can happen, so don’t worry too much about it, especially if you inform your team beforehand so they can adjust to the situation. Should it happen that an entire team misses image sets repeatedly, teams will not be sent any new images and the campaign is over for them. Therefore, try your best to analyse each image set – this also increases your chances of discovering an asteroid.

Where do the images come from?

IASC works with the Pan-STARRS (University of Hawaii) from which they receive and use their data exclusively all year-round. Images are usually taken the night before being sent to the participating teams.

What kind of asteroids can I find?

To date students participating in IASC have made 1500 preliminary MBA (Main Belt Asteroid) discoveries, of which two are NEOs (one is a PHA) and one is a Trojan. Currently, 52 have been catalogued and numbered with the student discoverers now proposing their own names to the IAU.

What happens when I discover an asteroid?

IASC will handle many of the follow-ups for the student discoveries. They use the Faulkes Telescope Program (2-m), the 1.3-m RCT at Kitt Peak maintained by Western Kentucky University, and 0.81-m RC at Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX). IASC also make use of the Sierra Stars Observatory Network (Markleeville, CA), which has a 0.61-m and 0.81-m. The 0.61-m at the Shiaparelli Observatory (Northern Italy), 2.5-m at Magdalena Ridge Observatory, and 0.81-m at the ARI are used upon special request for fast and slow movers (e.g., NEOs and Trojans). In case the follow-up confirms your discovery, it is given a provisional designation by the Minor Planet Center. In 3-6 years as additional observations are made and the orbit is fully determined, the asteroid is numbered and placed into the world’s official minor planets catalog by the International Astronomical Union. Numbered asteroids can be named by their discoverers.

What are the technical requirements?

The participating team must have access to computer/laptop (operating system: Windows 7 or 10 only) with good internet connection (at least 512kbps or preferably 1Mbps or above).

Have additional questions?

Feel free to Join the discussion. Or reach out to us,[email protected] or on Facebook.



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Copyright © 2021 astronomers.lk