UW News

Mario Juric

July 31, 2023

New algorithm ensnares its first ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid

An asteroid discovery algorithm — designed to uncover near-Earth asteroids for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s upcoming 10-year survey of the night sky — has identified its first “potentially hazardous” asteroid, a term for space rocks in Earth’s vicinity that scientists like to keep an eye on. The roughly 600-foot-long asteroid, designated 2022 SF289, was discovered during a test drive of the algorithm with the ATLAS survey in Hawaii. Finding 2022 SF289, which poses no risk to Earth for the foreseeable future, confirms that the next-generation algorithm, known as HelioLinc3D, can identify near-Earth asteroids with fewer and more dispersed observations than required by today’s methods. That is important because, though scientists know of more than 2,000 near-Earth asteroids, they estimate that another 3,000 await discovery!

May 31, 2022

UW-developed, cloud-based astrodynamics platform to discover and track asteroids

A novel algorithm developed by University of Washington researchers to discover asteroids in the solar system has proved its mettle. The first candidate asteroids identified by the algorithm — known as Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery, or THOR — have been confirmed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, according to a May 31 announcement by the B612 Foundation.

October 24, 2019

NSF invests in cyberinfrastructure institute to harness cosmic data

the stars at night

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and nine collaborating organizations, including the University of Washington, $2.8 million for a two-year “conceptualization phase” of the Scalable Cyberinfrastructure Institute for Multi-Messenger Astrophysics.

November 14, 2017

With launch of new night sky survey, UW researchers ready for era of ‘big data’ astronomy

The first astronomers had a limited toolkit: their eyes. They could only observe those stars, planets and celestial events bright enough to pick up unassisted. But today’s astronomers use increasingly sensitive and sophisticated instruments to view and track a bevy of cosmic wonders, including objects and events that were too dim or distant for their…