Feeds

Astronomy crowd spots PLANET KILLER!

Just kidding, folks, but still cool

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.