IMAGING FOR SCIENCE 3$57 $67(52,'6
How to take scientifically useful images of space rocks and contribute to wider studies.
Asteroids or minor planets are small Solar System bodies that are visible because they reflect sunlight. The larger members of this group have dimensions measured in hundreds of kilometres, but asteroids can be as small as 1m along their largest axis. Most asteroids are located in what’s known as the main belt, a huge
Pete Lawrence looks at how your images can help monitor the position of potentially hazardous objects crossing Earth’s orbit
repository for such objects located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. In all but very rare circumstances, asteroids appear star-like through amateur scopes. Visually, they can be measured in terms of their brightness, position and occasional apparent interactions with other objects.
The sheer number of asteroids in orbit around the Sun means that occasionally we get to see one occult a distant star. Asteroid occultations provide an important way to determine the shape profile of these rocky bodies.
Accurate date and time recording is vital when observing asteroids, as it is this information which ultimately is used to refine the object’s orbit and position.
Most asteroids appear starlike; Vesta at opposition is one of the few that can be captured as an extended object