Astronomers develop new observation techniques to reduce the risk of asteroids

Astronomers develop new observation techniques to reduce the risk of asteroids

A collaborative research team from China and Ukraine has been monitoring near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) through regular observations to achieve accurate positions and precise orbit determinations for these celestial bodies.

NEAs are asteroids whose trajectories are close to Earth’s orbit. The possibility of it impacting our planet poses a serious threat, emphasizing the critical need for immediate follow-up observations of the newly identified NEA to rapidly assess its orbital elements.

However, observing fast-moving objects with extended exposure times can result in streaked images, thus significantly reducing the accuracy of astronomical measurements.

Researchers from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Mykolaiv Astronomical Observatory pioneered an innovative method known as the spin-drift charge-coupled device (CCD) technique, which allowed the asteroid to be imaged. as an eye source, even with long exposure times.

Their work leveraged an extensive data set consisting of more than 11,000 position measurements of nearly 500 NEAs, captured by two 50-centimeter telescopes, each located in the city of Xi’an, northwest China, over the period from 2019 to 2023, and in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, over the period from 2011 to 2022.

Using this innovative technique, a network of small aperture telescopes can be effectively used to significantly improve the global NEA monitoring system to protect Earth from potential asteroid impacts, according to a study recently published in the Astronomical Journal.

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