Presentation #502.01 in the session Citizen Science.
We present results from the first year of our Citizen Science project Active Asteroids (http://activeasteroids.net), a NASA Partner. The project, hosted on the Zooniverse platform, engages the public through a search for minor planets displaying activity such as tails or comae. Of particular interest are active asteroids, objects that teach us about the solar system volatile distribution, knowledge important for future space exploration and our understanding of the origins of terrestrial water. However, studying active asteroids has proven challenging because they are rare, with fewer than 30 found since the first was discovered in 1949. To facilitate the discovery of additional active asteroids we ask volunteers to look for activity in images of known minor planets that we extract from publicly available Dark Energy Camera data.
Project preparations have already yielded several results, including the discovery of a new active Centaur, now identified C/2014 OG392 (PANSTARRS), characterization of active asteroids (6478) Gault and (248370) 2005 QN173, and constraints on the asteroid activity occurrence rate. Since the 31 August 2021 launch of Active Asteroids over 6,000 project volunteers have examined over 187,000 images. These efforts have yielded numerous candidate active objects which we are actively investigating. Here we provide an introduction to the Active Asteroids project, present results stemming from the first year of operations, and discuss future plans for the program.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under grant No. 2018258765 (COC) and grant No. 2020303693 (JKK). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Funded in part by NASA grant No. 80NSSC19K0869 and NASA grant No. 80NSSC21K0114.