Defenders of Earth, are you ready to take part?

Note: If you haven’t read the overview page on Planetary Defense, please check out our dedicated page on Planetary Defense.

 

Ready to start observing Planetary Defense targets with your Unistellar eVscope?

 

Check out our Planetary Defense Campaign page to discover the targets you can observe this month with your eVscope.

Below are two different methods to observe Planetary Defense targets. Scroll down the page to learn more about each method.

  • A. It is in the Unistellar app’s database and you’re observing it via the Science Observation mode
  • B. It is not in the app’s database and you’re observing it via the Science Observation mode

 

A. The Planetary Defense target is in the Unistellar app’s database and you’re observing it via the Science Observation mode

  1. In the Unistellar app, select the Explore tab, enter the name of the asteroid, and tap the Go to button.
  2. Once the Go To is done, select the Science tab and tap on the Planetary defense mode.
    Science tab menu Unistellar app smartphone
  3. Set the Recording parameters according to the instructions for the target on the Campaign page.
    Planetary Defense Unistellar app smartphone
  4. Tap LAUNCH to begin the observation.
  5. At the end of the acquisition, a pop-up message will ask for dark frames. Put the dust cap on and press yes.
  6. Please upload your data and send us a LOG** with your eVscope ID, city and the target’s name to citizenscience@unistellaroptics.com.

 

B. The Planetary Defense target is not in the Unistellar app’s database and you’re observing it via the Science Observation mode

First, you will need to calculate the ephemeris, which is a table or a data file that gives you the position of a celestial event taking into account your location and the time you’ll be observing.

  1. Compute the ephemeris from your location with JPL Horizons: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi (You can watch this tutorial about JPL Horizons: https://youtu.be/K8lNw7UpueI)
  2. Check if the target is visible from your location.
  3. In the Unistellar app, select the Science tab and tap on the Planetary defense mode.
    Science tab menu Unistellar app smartphone
  4. Using the ephemeris you computed, input the Target parameters, which include the RA (Right Ascension) and Dec (Declination). Right Ascension and Declination are coordinates in the sky like longitude and latitude are used for coordinates on the Earth.
    Planetary Defense Unistellar app smartphone
  5. Tap the GOTO button to point to the target.
  6. Set the Recording parameters according to the instructions for the target on the Campaign page.
  7. Tap LAUNCH to begin the observation.
  8. Include the ephemeris you computed (date + RA and Dec) in your LOG**

Tip: For example, if you want to observe an asteroid at 10:00 PM UTC for 10 minutes, in the ephemeris table, please use the RA and Dec associated with 10:00 PM UTC and start the recording 5 minutes before through 5 minutes after (9:55 PM to 10:05 PM). This will increase your chance to observe the fast-moving asteroid in your eVscope’s field of view (FOV).

9. Please upload your data and send us a LOG** with your eVscope ID, city, target’s name, ephemeris table, date and time of the ephemeris / RA and Dec, and the time you did the dark frame to citizenscience@unistellaroptics.com.

 

 

** Here is an example of what your LOG should look like:

Observer’s Name: First name, Last name

Date: the date of your observation, for example: 06 25 2020

City: the city where you observed, for example: San Francisco

eVscope ID: the serial number of your eVscope, for example: 3h5oje

 

Target 1: 2002 NN4

Start/end of the observation: 22:03 to 22:24

 

Target 2: Apophis

Start/end of the observation: 23:10 to 03:20