DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 42. Planetary Science for the Classroom II
Poster (Teacher Workshop), Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[42.09] Public Remote Observing of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

M. Hammergren (Adler Planetarium)

Since the mid-1990ís, the Adler Planetarium has engaged in a program of public remote observing using the ARC 3.5-meter telescope at the Apache Point Observatory. The impact on regular science programs is minimized by scheduling the public observing during evening twilight on the first Friday of every month, when the Planetarium is open for extended hours. We have recently begun to observe faint, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids for which further astrometry is desired. The observations and initial analyses are performed and displayed in real-time in our CyberSpace electronic gallery before a live audience. Audience participation is useful and is actively encouraged. In particular, the asteroids often are first spotted in sequences of images by a member of the audience. Young children have recovered potentially hazardous asteroids. Further data reduction is accomplished with commercially available software.

The program is straightforward in concept and execution, and is accessible to audiences of all ages. Since it unambiguously involves real science, it directly addresses the public understanding of research. We believe this program may be copied easily by other institutions that have remote observing assets.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mhammergren@adlernet.org

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.