Calling all amateur astronomers
Are you an amateur astronomer eager to engage in scientific research? Join the OSIRIS-REx team by participating in Target Asteroids!. Your telescope images of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) along with measurements of their brightness and positions complement professional observations and fill in the gaps of our knowledge. Combined observations enable scientists to better understand physical properties of asteroids for which little information is known, refine their orbits, and determine their parent asteroid families, turning what appears only as a “point of light” into a real world.
Additional annual “measuring campaigns” are available for citizen scientists who do not own equipment. These month-long campaigns provide images from large telescopes at dark-sky sites to a limited number of “measurers” who submit asteroid data to the Target Asteroids! program.
Target Asteroids! and Target NEOs! are citizen science projects of the NASA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission that provide data for continued study of near-Earth asteroids. Target Asteroids! is a communication and public engagement project of the OSIRIS-REx mission. Target NEOs! is a parallel observing program for Astronomical League members. Since 2012, observations from both projects have benefited the OSIRIS-REx Science Team and other researchers.
Target Asteroids! recommends particular asteroids for observers to concentrate on in the next calendar quarter. These are the highest priorities. Some are on the main Target Asteroids! list already, some are new to the list, and some are one-time-only requests. We hope you find these additional comments and insight interesting as you plan and make your observations! See here for our current campaign. Wishing you clear skies!