International Asteroid Search Campaign

It is a privilege for Space School Africa to be part of the 2009 International Asteroid Search Campaign [IASC]


The team will participate in the IASC from May 17 to June 30, 2009.




IASC is a program for high school and college students who search real-time astronomical images for original discoveries. The students search real-time astronomical images for original discoveries or to help determine more accurately previously known asteroid orbits.


Students download the images on a daily basis, perform the analysis with provided software tools, and report their discoveries, which ultimately are recognized by the Minor Planet Center (Harvard University) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).


These discoveries include asteroids, near-Earth objects (NEO), Kuiper Belt objects (KBO), supernovae (SNe), and active galactic nuclei (AGN).  Students download the images on a daily basis, perform the analysis with provided software tools, and report their discoveries, which ultimately are recognized by the Minor Planet Center (MPC; Harvard University) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).


Many of the objects identified by students are already known by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA, Pasadena, California) and the Minor Planet Center. Their orbits bring them close to our planet and they might pose a threat. The fact that their existence is known does not mean that their orbits are well determined. To predict more precisely their paths, scientists need more observations. Since they don’t know the exact trajectory, new detections of the objects are crucial. Students participating in these campaigns play a major role by re-encountering already known asteroids, thus helping determine their orbits more accurately.


This project is promoted by Hardin-Simmons University (Abilene, Texas) in partnership with the Lawrence Hall of Science (Hands-On Universe, University of California at Berkeley), Global Hands-on Universe Associates, Astronomical Research Institute (Charleston, Illinois).


The current list of IASC discoveries and observations is at http://iasc.hsutx.edu/Discoveries . The number of new asteroid discoveries remains at 23 but the list of NEO observations is long and includes many of IASC students.


Students and teachers from several schools will form the Space School Africa team.


These schools include:

  • Stanza Bopape Secondary School [Mamelodi, Pretoria (Gauteng Province)]
  • Vlakfontein Technical High School [[Mamelodi, Pretoria (Gauteng Province)]
  • Gatang Secondary School [Mamelodi, Pretoria (Gauteng Province)]
  • Lotus Gardens Secondary School [Mamelodi, Pretoria (Gauteng Province)]
  • Stirling High School [East London, (Eastern Cape Province)]
  • Umtata High School [Umtata, (Eastern Cape Province)]


The Programme will be managed by a specialist management Team:


Director for the Space School Africa IASC Programme: Dr Patrick Miller, professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Holland School of Science & Mathematics, and lecturer in introductory astronomy and astronomical research methods, at Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas   Dr. Miller is a at Hardin-Simmons. Dr Miller is the founder of IASC and serves as the Secretary of the Executive Council of the Global Hands-On Universe Association.


Senior Programme Advisors/Coaches:

  • Michael Kran [Astronomer, USA: Member of the Peninsula Astronomical Society, San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, and Astronomical Association of Northern California, and JPL/NASA Solar System Ambassador for 2008]


  • Arnie Rosner [Astronomer, USA: Founder of Global Rent a Scope (GRAS)]

  • Neville Young [Astronomer, South Africa]


Junior Coach: Stanley Ndumiso [Senior student in applied Physics, University of South Africa]

The programme ismanaged  by Adrian S Meyer, CEO of Space School Africa


Technical assistance in respect of the Space School Africa Computers will be provided by Dieter Meyer


The team will be supported by the Pretoria Centre of the SA Astronomy Society

Web site is sponsored by FLUX Webeasy


The team of students, and teachers from the various schools will receive extensive training on all aspects of Astrometrica and the use of computer software programs to track asteroids.


The Space School Africa programme focuses on career path development, and students affiliated to the programme do problem based research projects.


Two of the Space School Africa projects focus on bodies from deep space:

  • Fibonacci in Space [Project investigating “patterns” in space]
  • Advance warning: Awaiting the Doomsday Rock [Project investigating the trajectory of bodies from deep space, like asteroids, meteorites]


--  Watch this space for more details  --





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