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Space Science

Near-Earth Asteroid Discovered Via Crowdsourcing 21

Posted by samzenpus
from the secret-escape-plans-ruined dept.
astroengine writes "The ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program has scored its first hit. Although SSA astronomers have detected asteroids before, this is the first time that a near-Earth object (NEO) has been spotted by the group of volunteers who analyze automated data from the 1-meter ESA Optical Ground Station telescope on Tenerife. Although details are scant, asteroid 2011 SF108's orbit takes it to a closest approach of 30 million kilometers (19 million miles, or roughly 100 times the average Earth-moon distance) from Earth — a distance considered 'safe.'"
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Near-Earth Asteroid Discovered Via Crowdsourcing

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  • no moon!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Poster one, "Hey I found NEO a 1,000 miles out"

    Poster two, "That's odd. I just found one 900 miles out"

    Poster three, "That's cool, the one I just spotted is 800 miles but I can't tell what direction it's headed in?'

    Poster four, "You're all wrong it's 500 miles out and stationary. I'd guess it's 50 miles across. Wait I looked again, it's still fixed in the sky but I was wrong it's 75 miles across, er maybe a 100"

    Poster five, "I've got you all beat we're having an unscheduled eclipse!"

    Poster six, "That's noth

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @06:43PM (#37696416) Homepage Journal

      Poster one, "Hey I found NEO a 1,000 miles out"........

      I wonder if they had moderation?

      Poster one, "Hey I found NEO a 1,000 miles out" +1 Interesting

      Poster two, "That's odd. I just found one 900 miles out" +1 Interesting

      Poster three, "That's cool, the one I just spotted is 800 miles but I can't tell what direction it's headed in?' +1 Interesting

      Poster four, "You're all wrong it's 500 miles out and stationary. I'd guess it's 50 miles across. Wait I looked again, it's still fixed in the sky but I was wrong it's 75 miles across, er maybe a 100" +1 Funny

      Poster five, "I've got you all beat we're having an unscheduled eclipse!" -1 Troll

      Poster six, "That's nothing. There's two moons in the sky only one is really, really big. I wonder............." -1 Overrated

      • Poster one, "Hey I found NEO a 1,000 miles out" +1 Interesting

        "Hey I found NEO a 1,000 miles out" +1 Informative

        Parent: +1 Insightful.

  • Up in the sky .. it's a bird!

    It's a plane!

    It's Superman!

  • Wouldn't this be something that lends itself to automation more easily than crowd sourcing? Just asking...
    • It is automated, but only to a point. FTA: "...the telescope scans the sky automatically, looking for any errant chunks of space rock. When an asteroid candidate is identified, the data must be reviewed by a human before the discovery is made."
    • by crotherm (160925)

      The idea is that different humans will look at a data sets differently is what this is about. To automate that is nigh impossible.

    • by Dr La (1342733)

      Wouldn't this be something that lends itself to automation more easily than crowd sourcing? Just asking...

      Actually, the human eye is still beter at detecting trails on plates than automated systems are, especially where fainter trails are concerned. Automated system also have serious difficulty discerning between real NEA trails and trails from cosmic ray impacts on the sensor.

      Spacewatch used automated detection, nevertheless human inspectors discivered 43 additional asteroid trails on the images between 2004 and 2006: trails that the automated routines missed.

  • What, no Matrix jokes yet?
  • by Dr La (1342733) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @03:50AM (#37698956) Homepage
    Interesting as it is, this is not a "first". The Spacewatch program "crowdsourced" the search for NEA by using volunteer plate inspectors between 2004 and 2006 (the Spacewatch FMO project) and discovered 43 new NEA this way (http://fmo.lpl.arizona.edu/discoveries.cfm). I personally discovered 2005 GG81, a small Amor asteroid, as a volunteer plate reviewer in this project.

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