NSS of North Texas Hears Presentation on Finding Asteroids

asteroid trajectories found by Adam

By Robin Scott

Image: Visualizing the trajectories through the solar system of asteroids discovered by ADAM. Credits: B612 Asteroid Institute, University of Washington DiRAC Institute, and OpenSpace Project.

NSS of North Texas welcomed Joachim Moeyens, Graduate Student Fellow of the Asteroid Institute and Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DiRAC) Institute, who presented “The B612 Foundation and their Search for Asteroids.” The Asteroid Institute, a program of the private, non-profit B612 Foundation, uses the Asteroid Discovery, Analysis, and Mapping (ADAM) as their primary platform. Moeyens packed his presentation with dynamic observation images.

Joachim Moeyens
Joachim Moeyens

Moeyens highlighted the parameters of the Legacy Survey of Space and Time that will be conducted by the Rubin Observatory in the Chilean Andes and explained the science that this observatory aims to accomplish while continuously taking images for 10 years. He outlined the projection of a meaningful number of discoveries — at times exceeding 30,000 asteroids discovered nightly (majority are main belt asteroids). The timeline for reporting new observations of known solar system objects will be 60 seconds and newly discovered asteroids and comets will be 24 hours. Moeyens explained how an asteroid’s movement observed as “tracklets” can be used for their discovery and how Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery (THOR) transforms observations to simplify asteroid discovery with 97.2% accuracy and greater than a 2x increase in the recovery of known objects compared to tracklet-based algorithms. THOR was integrated into the ADAM platform and used to make the foundations of an asteroid discovery service.

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