Dr. Leslie Morris Golden
934 Forest Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60302
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THE NEAR EARTH ASTEROID RECONNAISSANCE PROJECT: A WORLD-WIDE NETWORK OF AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS AND SPACE SCIENTISTS TO DISCOVER ASTEROIDS THAT MAY POSE A THREAT TO LIFE ON EARTH
The Near-Earth Asteroid Reconnaissance Project (N.E.A.R.) is a novel approach to the discovery and determination of the orbits of near-earth asteroids. It takes advantage of the world-wide network of amateur astronomers who, equipped with personal computers, sophisticated guidance software, and CCD detectors, are able to perform professional quality work in their own observatories.
After becoming a member of the volunteer network of observers, the astronomer notifies NEAR by e-mail of the position of a candidate object. That position is then send by e-mail to all the other members of the network to obtain subsequent positions. If necessary, professional observatories are also requested to obtain positions. The NEAR staff of astronomers then determines the orbit of the object, compares that orbit to a comprehensive database of known objects, and evaluates whether the object was heretofore unknown.
Periodically, the objects discovered are published in the professional astronomical literature, with full credit given to the participating members of the network who aided in the determination of the orbit. We appreciate your work, without which the NEAR Project would not exist.
To become a member of the network, please fill in the Observer Profile below. The NEAR Project was created and developed by Dr. Leslie M. Golden, who received the Bachelors and Masters of Engineering Physics from Cornell University, where he was stimulated to become an astronomer by studying with Frank Drake, director of Project Ozma and author of the Drake Equation, and the Masters and Ph.D in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a National Research Council/National Science Foundation Fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was the chief observer in radio astronomy at the Table Mountain Observatory. Most recently, he is a professor in the physics department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among other activities, Dr. Golden was a finalist to become a member of the second resident crew of Biosphere II before that project changed its focus, and is the only University of Illinois, Chicago, professor to be selected as a professor on the Semester at Sea program. Dr. Golden is a popular public lecturer on astronomical subjects. His research interests include the search for extraterrestrial life, planetary radio astronomy, and cosmology.
Thank you for joining Dr. Golden in becoming a member of the NEAR Network of Observers.
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Please provide the following data for the time of the middle of your observation. 1. Date and Local Standard Time in format MON DD.FFF, for example, JAN 30.125 2. Equinox (1950.00 or 2000.00)
3. Right Ascension in format HH.MMSS 4. Declination in format dDD.MMSS, where d is the + or - sign. If you can only provide the altitude and azimuth of your observation, please provide an accurate latitude for your observatory.
If you are able to provide a digital image of the object, please 1. Make the field large enough to include field stars. 2. Provide the duration of the observation so we can calculate proper motions. 3. Indicate the scale of the photograph (seconds of arc, or minutes of arc, per cm). 4. If you are able to identify any of the field stars, please notate the photograph accordingly.
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TIPS FOR DISCOVERING ASTEROIDS
Discovering asteroids is easily done because of their large proper motions. An object orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter will typically move about 10 seconds of arc during a 15-minute exposure. Near-earth objects will have larger proper motions both because they are closer to the earth and because, being closer to the sun, they have larger orbital velocities. This is the key to discovering near-earth objects. Return to TOP
EMPLOYMENT AND INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES From time to time employment and internship opportunities are available with the research group. We look for astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science, and aeronautical engineering students with an interest in research and a career in these fields. The job responsibilities include a wide variety of activities including programming, data reduction, monitoring of our internet site, preparation of papers for publication, and liaison with the astronomical press. More specifically, you may participate in monitoring the internet NEAR hotline, development of search and earth-crossing software, calculation of orbits from observational data, statistical and Monte Carlo analyses, composing literature and presentations for amateur astronomy groups, analysis of photographs and CCD images, and publishing findings of asteroid orbits. NEAR is a collaborative effort between professional observatories and amateur astronomers world-wide to discover asteroids with possible earth-crossing orbits.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is located one mile from Downtown Chicago. If interested, you may send your curriculum vitae and a letter of interest to: Dr. Leslie M. Golden, M/C 273, Physics Department, University of Illinois at Chicago, 875 W. Taylor St., Chicago, Illinois 60607, or Dr. Leslie M. Golden, 934 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302. (708) 848-6657. A paperless, e-mail submission to the environmentally-sensitive Dr. Golden, however, is preferred. Send an e-mail to NearEarthProject -- Dr. Les Golden:email@example.com. Return to TOP
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JOIN THE NEAR NETWORK OF OBSERVERS
Join the NEAR Network of Observers
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