Can I see any asteroids from Earth?

We find out if it’s easy to spot the chunks of space rock that litter our Solar System

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We are able to see asteroids from Earth, but a degree of astrophotography is needed to spot them. Image Credit: NASA

We are able to see asteroids from Earth, but a degree of astrophotography is needed to spot them. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Jim Luton

Yes, you can. Some of the most prolific asteroid hunters have been Earth-based astronomers. Throughout history the amateur astronomy community have done a superb job of spotting asteroids.

This is due to the sheer amount of time they study the sky. The easiest way to find asteroids from the ground involves astrophotography. We take two images of the same patch of sky, which have been taken a small time apart. Study of these images may reveal faint objects moving in that small time interval. This method is used since spotting them with the naked eye is very tricky, due to them being very dim. The search and logging of asteroids is very important as they pose a real danger to the Earth, a threat which currently we’re unable to deflect.

Answered by Sophie Allan from the National Space Centre

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