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 3rd All-Sri Lanka Asteroid Search Campaign (ASASC). It was held from 13th of May to 10th of June 2020 with the participation of 45 selected teams comprising 210 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 306 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Yes, in case of free slots you will form a team with other team-less applicants.
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.
No, you can join the search even if you know nothing about asteroids. It will be a great way to learn about them.
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.
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%).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).