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Asteroid Watch

Image of asteroid Itokawa
Image of asteroid Itokawa

Asteroids are small rocky objects orbiting around the Sun.

Although most orbit in the distant Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, some come much closer and could even hit the Earth. Obviously we want to find and track these Near Earth Objects (NEOs for short) so that if any are likely to hit us, we can try and stop them.

The aim of this project is for you to help with this important work by searching for NEOs in observations we have taken, and report back their positions. With your results, we can then calculate the orbits of the NEOs and work out if any could be "killer asteroids". In addition to the astronomers at the NSO we work closely with The Spaceguard Centre who support us with their invaluable experience in this field of work. A number of schools and amateur astronomers also work closely with us to ensure that the results we send to the Minor Planet Center and display on our website are as accurate as possible.

The following sections will guide you through the process of identifying and tracking near-earth asteroids:

Learn how we detect asteroids

Carry out the "Spotting Asteroids and NEOs" activity to learn how to find these objects using LTImage

Measuring the position of Near Earth Objects (NEOs)

Download some recent observations to analyse

Report your results