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New type of asteroid discovered

22 May 2020, 21:00 UTC
New type of asteroid discovered
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IMAGE: Asteroid 2019LD2 taken on June 11th, 2019, using the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Networkʻs 1.0-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile. CREDIT: JD Armstrong/IfA/LCOGT

A lot of people think that astronomy is as simple as taking nice images, looking at them, and then getting good science. The reality is that a whole lot of work goes into processing images to figure out where the science is hiding.

The ATLAS team, for instance, goes to all kinds of measures to find and study comets and asteroids. To find things, they will take image after image of the same field, process them to get the sky levels identical, despite changing moonlight and other factors, and then subtract images from one another so the stars disappear while moving objects pop out to be seen. They will then combine images so that stars appear to streak while moving objects appear as single points that can be more easily seen. These processes are what found the recently self-destructed Comet ATLAS. It is also the process that found asteroid 2019 LD2, an object that refuses to behave as an asteroid should.

Found out near Jupiter last June and classified as a Trojan ...

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