NASC Colloquium: Near-Earth Asteroids (or, Why Dinosaurs Should Have Learned Physics)

​An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster we have the technology to prevent. But prevention takes time, meaning we need to discover and track near‐Earth asteroids now. Carrie Nugent, Computational Physics and Planetary Science, Olin College, will give an overview on asteroids, including​ a few notable asteroid impacts and discuss the work she is doing to re-process the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) dataset. NEAT operated from 1995 to 2007 and discovered 41,227 asteroids and comets (Helin et al., 1997 and Pravdo et al, 1999), and reported observations of 258 comets. ​Although NEAT pioneered asteroid discovery techniques, it operated within the technological constraints of its time. In the intervening years there have been significant advancements in computer hardware and data analysis tools. ​Prof. Nugent and her students are building a software pipeline to reprocess the NEAT data and estimate that this reprocessing will double the number of asteroid detections from this data. In addition, they will make their software freely available on Github. As there is no existing free software package of this type, this software will enable other observers to find asteroids in their datasets.​​ Image: Artist's conception of an asteroid in our solar system. Credit: NASA/Caltech.

Friday, February 21 at 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Ho Science Center, 101
1819 Oak Dr, Hamilton, NY 13346, USA


Academics, Natural Sciences Mathematics

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Physics & Astronomy Department
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