A new algorithm has been detected on around 100 asteroids after studying data from old telescopes

A new algorithm has been detected on around 100 asteroids after studying data from old telescopes

A new algorithm that studied data from old telescopes has discovered more than 100 undiscovered asteroids. More than 100 asteroids previously undetectable in archival photos of the sky have been discovered by researchers using a new astrodynamics technique.

Landscape of the asteroid belt

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


Asteroids are stony objects that remained after the formation of the solar system about 4 billion years ago. These stony features, which measure from a few feet to hundreds of kilometers wide, are too small to be called planets.

The 104 previously unknown asteroids were identified using a new technique called Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery (THOR), part of the Asteroid Institute’s cloud-based astrodynamics platform, Asteroid Discovery Analysis and Mapping (ADAM). According to a statement from the B612 Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports solar system mapping and navigation research and technologies, this algorithm recognizes asteroids. It calculates their trajectories by connecting bright spots in different images of the sky that correspond to the orbits of the asteroids.

In a statement, Ed Lu, executive director of the Asteroid Institute, a program of the B612 Foundation, said: “Discovering and tracking asteroids is essential to understanding our solar system, enabling space development and protecting our world. asteroid strikes.

Also Read: NASA Reveals Daring Mission to Put Humans on An Asteroid for the First Time

Study old data

A person setting up a telescope to view an asteroid

(Photo: Getty Images)

“Any telescope with an archive can become an asteroid search telescope with THOR running on ADAM,” said Lu, a former NASA astronaut. “We’re using the power of huge computers to enable greater discoveries from existing telescopes and identify and track asteroids in historic photos of the sky that were never intended for asteroid research.”

The most recent asteroids were detected using previous data from the NOIRLab source catalog. The THOR algorithm on the ADAM platform, which runs on Google Cloud, was used to evaluate this data. Between 2012 and 2019, the National Observatory for Optical Astronomy made nearly 68 billion observations, which were included in the NOIRLab data. Candidate asteroids have been sent to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planets Center for confirmation.

In a statement, Matthew Holman, a dynamist and search algorithm expert at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and former director of the IAU Minor Planet Center, said: “A comprehensive map of the solar system gives astronomers essential information both for planetary science and defense.” “Trackletless algorithms like THOR greatly expand the types of datasets astronomers can use to create such a map.”

Finding these first 104 asteroids using the THOR algorithm, the researchers say, opens the door to future asteroid discoveries using historic telescope datasets.

asteroid watch

Have you ever thought about how we can plan for and respond to a large-scale natural disaster like this? NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is doing just that. Researchers are currently working on ways to quantify the impact of an asteroid approaching Earth too close for comfort using supercomputer simulations.

planetary defense


(Photo: MasterTux on Pixabay)

Planetary defense refers to all the capabilities required to detect and warn of probable impacts of an asteroid or comet on Earth and to avoid or mitigate their consequences. Planetary defense involves:

  • Location and tracking of near-Earth objects likely to collide with the Earth;
  • Determine the orbit trajectory, size, shape, mass, composition, rotational dynamics and other parameters of these objects so that experts can determine the severity of the potential impact event, warn its timing and consequences and how to minimize the impact; and
  • Measures to deflect or disrupt an object on a collision course with Earth, or to mitigate an impact that cannot be avoided, are planned and implemented. Evacuation of the impact region and relocation of vital infrastructure are two mitigation strategies that can be implemented on Earth to protect life and property.

Related Article: NASA Plans To Deflect Asteroids To Defend Planet From Cosmic Disasters

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