All-Brunei Darussalam Asteroid Search Campaign

“Sesungguhnya Kami telah mengutus rasul-rasul Kami dengan membawa bukti-bukti yang nyata dan telah Kami turunkan bersama mereka al-Kitab dan neraca (keadilan) supaya manusia dapat melaksanakan keadilan. Dan Kami ciptakan besi yang padanya terdapat kekuatan yang hebat dan berbagai manfaat bagi manusia, (supaya mereka mempergunakan besi itu) dan supaya Allah mengetahui siapa yang menolong (agama)-Nya dan rasul-rasul-Nya padahal Allah tidak dilihatnya. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Kuat lagi Maha Perkasa,”

Al Quran (Surah Al Hadid Ayat 25)

Small Worlds

The Solar System is home to many small bodies including asteroids, comets and Kuiper Belt objects. Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most of this ancient space rubble can be found orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter within the main asteroid belt. Asteroids range in size from Vesta – the largest at about 530 kilometers in diameter – to bodies that are less than 10 meters across. The total mass of all the asteroids combined is less than that of Earth’s Moon.

Above: Location of the Main Asteroid Belt and Trojan Asteroids (Source: letstalkscience.ca)

While the major planets follow predictable orbits around the Sun, these small worlds are sometimes difficult to observe and detect because of their size, low brightness, and distance from Earth. Determining the precise geometry of their orbits is often challenging, and some of the orbits change over time due to gravitational nudges from the planets or the Sun heating their surfaces.

Protecting the Earth from the threat of asteroid impacts means first knowing where they are.

Above: Asteroid Ida and its moon Dactyl. Scientists found the first discovered moon orbiting an asteroid when the Galileo spacecraft flew past Ida in 1993. Credit: NASA/JPL

According to NASA, to date, there are 1,113,527 known asteroids, including over 18,000 Near-Earth asteroids (NEOs). An average of 30 new NEO discoveries are added each week. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for NEO Studies provides up-to-date asteroid discovery statistics.

1113527

Total Known Asteroids Count

18000

Total Near-Earth Asteroids (NEOs) Count

31

Bruneian Citizen Scientists in Asteroid Hunting

0

Total Preliminary Asteroids Discovery by Brunei


#AsteroidSearchBN

The #AsteroidSearchBN (All-Brunei Darussalam Asteroid Search) project was first planned in August 2021, with commencing of trial stages in the campaign development for small groups of citizen scientists. The campaign is currently under development and it is expected to be officially launched in early 2022.

The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) will coordinate a group of students and adults in a citizen-science program, a partnership under MoU with Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO), a collaboration of The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and supported by the National Outreach Coordinator, Office for Astronomical Outreach, International Astronomical Union.

It is a citizen science program which is expected to provide valuable astronomical data to professional scientists around the world. A 10-year program, this project encourages Bruneian students and community to make original astronomical discoveries and participate in hands-on of asteroid hunting.

You are the key to the success of your citizen scientists in the search for asteroids.

Our Mission: To Hunt and Discover Asteroids by Bruneians

The main objective of the project is to identify near-earth asteroids (NEOs) using Astrometrica software by analyzing the real data obtained by the Pan-STARRS telescopes. The astrometric reports of the identified objects will be sent to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) database, for recording the discoverer and assigning the name of each astronomical object.

This project is aimed to detect a dozen of new asteroids by Bruneians by 2031

1st Hunting Season Starts in…


What do participants earn?

  • New Experience being an amateur astronomer and a scientist using a interactive software tool and actual CCD photographic frames obtained from one of the most powerful telescopes-Pan-STARRS.
  • Learning opportunities – Introduction to new astronomy related to minor objects in space, acquisition of scientific skills using Astrometrica, introduction to astronomical databases.
  • Strong Teamwork – Collaboration in citizen science involves working as a team in searching asteroids successfully.
  • Great Accomplishment! This is your chance to discover a new asteroid or to observe the Main Belt – the opportunity to contribute with your observation data and findings of unknown asteroids to scientific and astronomy community. The early identification especially the killer asteroids (NEOs) can reduce the risk of future impact with the Earth by keeping an eye on these Space Rocks by astronomers. It’s a personal achievement and satisfaction to protect and save our planet from asteroids!
  • Citizen Scientists will receive certificates from NASA for their preliminary discoveries of asteroids soon after the campaign. However, recognition for provisional discoveries can take upto one year and for numbered discovery, upto three or five years.

Who can Join?

If you have:
An interest in astronomy.
An interest in observing and providing data to the scientific community.
An interest in learning more about asteroids and near-Earth objects.

Anyone in Brunei Darussalam who wants to have hands-on experience to achieve personal discoveries by searching asteroid from world-class telescopes can participate in this program.

The asteroid search campaign is free! Students and teachers are encouraged to participate, and priorities will be given to PABD members and college/university students.

It will be an intensive work to detect small worlds, alike finding a needle in a haystack! We will be working on the authentic scientific data, so you will be working like a real astronomer and scientists. So we want your hard work, maximum energy, time and dedication to accomplish our mission.


Asteroid Hunting & New Discovery

STEP 1: Training (Optional) & Asteroid Hunting (Campaign)

Participants are trained using astrometry tools which provide the ability to easily compare astrometrical images for the purpose of moving object discovery.

Participants will have to differentiate between the true and the false signatures and analyze the data as not all moving objects are asteroids.

At national or international stage campaign, participants analyze the data from Pan-STARRS and the Catalina Sky Survey images, and when a participant discovers a moving object from the set of data, Eureka! They have successfully completed their preliminary discovery in the process of asteroid hunting.

STEP 2: Preliminary Detection

A preliminary discovery is the first observation of an unknown asteroid.

Once an unknown asteroid is detected by a participant, a preliminary discovery it is allotted a preliminary name.

Astrometric data is sent to professional astronomers globally for further investigation and findings.

The next stage is the provisional discovery which gives the asteroid the provisional name.

STEP 3: Provisional Asteroid Discovery

The MPC monitors further observations of the discovery until the orbit has been fully determined, a process that takes 3-6 years.

Finally your asteroid with the provisional name will receive an official numbering and will be eligible for naming (numbered asteroid can be named by their discoverers) and will be cataloged by International Astronomical Union.


How to Join?

  • Team Formation: Form a team of 3-4 people from your school or community or different school/college/university or districts. Decide your team name.
  • Basic Requirements: The participating team must have access to computer/laptop with good internet connection and commitment to work seriously.
  • Apply Online: Fill in the online application form available in this website prior to each scheduled training (optional) and search campaigns available below.
  • Selection: All application will undergo selection processes (may require online interviews). Please wait for the result of selection. Applications are reviewed on the basis of team formation, gender balance, access to good working computer and internet access.

Registration

Our project consists of two main programmes, the intensive training (optional) & search campaign at national level, and opportunities to participate at the international level.

We encourage interested participants to attend our special training sessions that will be carried out via online to learn the process of detecting asteroids, so that they have greater chance to discover asteroids.

Program 1: Training (Optional) – Hunting for Asteroid

Our intensive training will be mainly facilitated by a citizen-science asteroid-hunting expert, Mr Suresh Bhattani, with mentors from the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) & the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD), and managed by PABD project team.

Above: Online training in asteroid hunting helps participants to learn new skills and knowledge in asteroid detection techniques. This screenshot photo was taken during the first Asteroid Hunting course for Brunei Darussalam on September 24-25, 2021.

The training will cover Introduction to Astrometry & Digital Sky Survey, Astrometry Software, Calibration and manual search techniques for detecting asteroid. The duration will be about 2 days that will cover about 6 hours of practical.

Training Fee: (a) Apply for Full Scholarship; or (b) Self-funding.

There will be sponsorships subject to availability funded by the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) for the training session. However, we also welcome self-funded participants at a cost of:
β–« BND$15 per person for PABD members; and
β–« BND$25 per person for non-PABD members;
β–« Full Scholarship (Limited)

All fees payable to Bendahari Agung PABD. Please provide your proof of transaction receipt to +6738272963 (WhatsApp). Your participation in the training will only be accepted once training fee/charge is paid, or your scholarship is approved.

Training SessionTimelineApplication
Status
FundingQuota*
Training &
Development
Thur-Fri,
19-20 Aug 2021
7.15pm-10.15pm
Closed
Completed
NASOTrial Phase:
3 PABD members
Training Session A
Online via Zoom
Fri & Sat,
24 & 25 Sept 2021
7.15pm-10.15pm
Closed
Completed
PABD
Scholarship
Trial Phase:
15 PABD members
Training Session A
Online via Zoom
Fri & Sat,
24 & 25 Sept 2021
7.15pm – 10.15pm
Closed
Completed
Self Funded /
or Full Scholarship
(subject to
availability)
Limited Quota
for non-PABD
members
Training Session BJanuary 2022TBATBAOpen to public
Training Session CExpected 2022TBATBAOpen to public
Training Session DExpected 2022TBATBAOpen to public
*subject to changes; (TBA)-To be announced; Links will be activated prior to the sessions

Successful Training Participants List: Click Here

Program 2: Asteroid Search Campaign

We would love everyone and your citizen science group, either if you are trained or not, to participate in the national asteroid search campaign for free – a chance to discover new asteroid & represent Brunei at international stage. The search will last for a month, and we hope that you will find some preliminary detections of unknown asteroids. Sign up now & refer to campaign schedule below for availability – Happy hunting!

Asteroid Search
Campaign
TimelineApplication
Status
ChargesQuota
Search
Campaign Alpha
01-27 Sep 2021Closed
On going
FreeTrial Phase:
1 PABD team,
in collaboration
with NASO
Search
Campaign Beta
01-27 Oct 2021Closed
In Progress
FreeTrial Phase:
5 teams,
in collaboration
with NASO
Search
Campaign 1
28 Feb –
22 Mar 2022
Apply Here
Available
Free10 teams
Search
Campaign 2
May 2022
(TBA)
Pending Free
Search
Campaign 3
July 2022
(TBA)
Pending Free
Search
Campaign 4
September 2022
(TBA)
Pending Free
Search
Campaign 5
November 2022
(TBA)
PendingFree
*subject to changes; (TBA)-To be announced; Links will be activated prior to the sessions

Achievement


Contact Us

E-mail: asteroidsearch@bruneiastronomy.org
Social Media Hashtag: #AsteroidSearchBN
Official Website: www.bruneiastronomy.org/asteroidsearch


Organiser

Main Collaborator

The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC)


Project Management Team

Hazarry bin Haji Ali Ahmad,
Secretary-General of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) /
National Outreach Coordinator, IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach
Project Manager
hazarry(a)bruneiastronomy.org | +6738820277

Mohd Qawiem bin Haji Mohd Jamil,
Executive Committee of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD)
Co-Assistant Project Manager I
qawiem(a)bruneiastronomy.org

Nur Bazilah binti Zainal Abidin,
Executive Committee of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD)
Co-Assistant Project Manager II
nurbazilah(a)bruneiastronomy.org

Shaifulbahri bin Haji Ahmad,
Treasurer General of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD)
Financial Manager
shaifulbahri(a)bruneiastronomy.org
+673 827 2963 (WhatsApp)

Our Dedicated Team:

Project Team: Haji Mohamad Azri bin Hj Awang Ibrahim, PABD | azri(a)bruneiastronomy.org
Project Team: Haji Jamri Bin Jaafar, PABD | jamri(a)bruneiastronomy.org
Project Team: Sonny anak Jumpo, PABD | sonny.jumpo(a)bruneiastronomy.org
Project Team: Dr Hjh Roslynna Hj Rosli, PABD | roslynna.rosli(a)bruneiastronomy.org
Project Team: Dayang Siti Nor Izuana Binti Ayob | izuana(a)bruneiastronomy.org
Project Team: Siti Redha Wahayu Binti Mohamad | sitiredha.mohammad(a)bruneiastronomy.org


Further Reading

The Minor Planet Center (MPC) is an international organization responsible for collecting observations of asteroids, comets, and other small bodies in the Solar System. Under the authority of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the MPC maintains and publishes information on the most up-to-date observations of these Solar System objects and their orbits. The MPC is hosted by the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, and sponsored by a grant from NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations program. https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/facilities-technology/cfa-facilities/minor-planet-center

Pan-STARRS is the largest single research project at the Institute for Astronomy. The first telescope, Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope located near the summit of Haleakala on the Island of Maui. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels. A similar telescope, Pan-STARRS2 (PS2), has been constructed adjacent to PS1. It has a similar, but slightly larger digital camera, with almost 1.5 billion pixels. The operation of the Pan-STARRS telescopes is mostly funded by the NASA Near Earth Observation Program. Each night, PS1 observes about 1,000 square degrees of the night sky, using a sequence of four exposures that span a period of about an hour. The images are compared to each other, and objects that move during the one hour period are identified. Objects that have unusual motions that make them likely to be Near Earth Objects are immediately reported to the Minor Planet Center, and a worldwide network of telescopes obtains additional observations of these Near Earth Object candidates to determine their orbits and sizes, and to determine whether any of them pose a threat to the Earth. The positions and brightnesses of all other moving objects are also reported to the Minor Planet Center, usually within 12 hours of observation. https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/research/Pan-STARRS.shtml

The JPL Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) computes high-precision orbits for Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) in support of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. These orbit solutions are used to predict NEO close approaches to Earth, and produce comprehensive assessments of NEO impact probabilities over the next century. Continually updated calculations of orbital parameters, close approaches, impact risks, discovery statistics, and mission designs to possibly human-accessible asteroids are made available on this website and to user scripts through an Application Program Interface (API). CNEOS supports observers through the JPL Horizons high precision ephemeris computation capability. https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/about/cneos.html

Astrometrica is a interactive software tool for scientific grade astrometric data reduction of CCD images, focusing on measurements of the minor bodies of the solar system (asteroids, comets and dwarf planets). The current version for the Windows 32bit operating system family is the successor of a DOS based software that was used for astrometric data reduction of photographic films (1990), and later CCDs (1993). http://www.astrometrica.at/

Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, Nepal Astronomical Society, is an adjunct faculty at Department of Physics, Tri-Chandra Multiple Campus. Graduated with M.Sc. Physics degree with majors Astrophysics and Plasma Physics from Tribhuvan University in 2011, his research interests are Planetary Science, Star Formation, ISM, High Energy Astrophysics, Astrochemistry, and Astrobiology. He has eclectic experience on astronomy outreach and education in Nepal. He is a member at International Board of International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA). He is also elected as Regional Coordinator for the Asia Pacific (2013-2017) at Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of United Nations Programme on Space Applications (SGAC), chairman at EurAstro World. https://www.nepalastronomicalsociety.org/

The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) is a citizen science program that provides high-quality astronomical data to citizen scientists around the world. These citizen scientists are able to make original astronomical discoveries and participate in hands-on astronomy. This service is provided at no cost! Asteroid Search Campaigns are the primary focus of IASC. A “campaign” is a month-long event in which teams search for asteroids. http://iasc.cosmosearch.org/