New Desktop Application to Help You Discover Asteroids
A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers.
According to NASA, analysis of images taken of the solar system’s main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15 percent increase in positive identification of new asteroids.
During a panel Sunday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, NASA representatives discussed how citizen scientists have made a difference in asteroid hunting.
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They also announced the release of a desktop software application developed by NASA in partnership with Planetary Resources, Inc., of Redmond, Washington.
The application is based on an Asteroid Data Hunter-derived algorithm that analyzes images for potential asteroids. It’s a tool that can be used by amateur astronomers and citizen scientists.
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The desktop software application is free and can be used on any basic desktop or laptop computer. Amateur astronomers may take images from their telescopes and analyze them with the application.
The application will tell the user whether a matching asteroid record exists and offer a way to report new findings to the Minor Planet Center, which then confirms and archives new discoveries.
You can download the new asteroid hunting application.
Photo courtesy: NASA