Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ESA: Amateur skywatchers help space hazards team

For the first time, observations coordinated by ESA's Space Situational Awareness programme have led to the discovery of a previously unknown near-Earth object, asteroid 2011 SF108.

The space rock was discovered by amateur astronomer Rainer Kracht and colleagues. The discovery was made by the volunteer Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey (TOTAS) team during their SSA-sponsored observation slot in September 2011.

The 4-night survey used the 1m telescope at ESA's Optical Ground Station (OGS) at Teide, Tenerife.

In the animation above, the newly discovered asteroid is the white blob moving left-to-right in the upper centre of the image. The white blob moving left-to-right at the lower centre is a known asteroid and the single pixle jumping at upper-centre-left is a digital artefact.

Credits: ESA/TOTAS Survey Team

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