Feeds

Astronomy crowd spots PLANET KILLER!

Just kidding, folks, but still cool

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Unravelling DNA, identifying exoplanets, and now, spotting near-Earth asteroids: is there anything that science can’t outsource to an Internet crowd?

The European Space Agency has announced that its Space Situational Awareness program, in which amateur astronomers pitch into to help analyze sky survey photographs, has turned up its first near-Earth object.

The newly-identified chunk of Sun-orbiting rock was identified in a four-night survey taken by the 1 meter apeture ESA instrument at Teide on Tenerife. While not the first asteroid found by the SSA project, it’s the first that passes close enough to Earth to be classed as a potential impact threat.

However, before readers grab their copies of Lucifer’s Hammer and start scouting for bunkers and canned beans, the reassuring news from the ESA is that with a likely closest approach of 30 million kilometers, the newly-discovered 2011 SF108 isn’t about to send us the way of the dinosaurs.

The discoverer, Rainer Kracht, has an enviable record for we non-astronomers, discovering 46 asteroids. Kracht said that on the night of the discovery, he was working with a team of seven other enthusiasts, “and I was lucky to be the one who found 2011 SF108 as part of this team”.

Kracht singled out another amateur astronomer, Matthias Busch, as contributing to the discovery by writing software used in the project.

The ESA’s release is here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.