CCNet DIGEST, 13 August 1998

(1) MONEY FOR COMETS, 13 August 1998

    Ron Baalke <>


    M. Krolikowska et al., POLISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCE

    The Times, 13 August 1998


    Jonathan TATE <>

That Fuzzy Dot in the Sky May Be Worth $20,000

From, 13 August 1998

Okay. So maybe it’s not quite like winning Powerball. But amateur
astronomers can now turn their hobby into cash. A new award, to be
administered by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will provide
$20,000 a year to amateurs who spot previously unknown comets.

Encouraging the Amateurs

The Edgar Wilson Award, named after a late Kentucky businessman, was
set up to encourage people to follow his passion for studying the night
sky. A trust fund set up by Wilson, who died in 1976, funds the yearly

Wilson’s goal was to get more people interested in the field, not just
for personal enjoyment, but to bolster our understanding of the heavens
he loved. The first awards will be announced in July 1999.
Comet-seekers have long been lured by the potential fame of having a
newly found dirty ice ball named after them. Now they can also win
enough money to buy a bigger telescope.

The rules are pretty basic: To win, you must be acting as an amateur
and must be using privately owned, amateur equipment. You also need to
report the discovery to the International Astronomical Union before the
union announces someone else has already discovered it.

Science for Everyone

Amateurs have always made a huge contribution to astronomy, says Daniel
Green, a comet specialist with the Central Bureau of Astronomical
Telegrams in Cambridge, Mass. The bureau, part of the International
Astronomical Union, has served for 75 years as the international
clearinghouse for newly discovered celestial objects.

“Going into this century, it was hard to distinguish between an amateur
and a professional,” Green says, “and even today there are amateurs who
do better work than some professionals.”

The titans in their ranks include David Levy, who along with the late
planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker discovered Shoemaker-Levy comet
before it crashed into Jupiter in 1994, and Thomas Bopp, who along with
astronomer Alan Hale discovered Comet Hale-Bopp, the unfortunate
inspiration for the Heaven’s Gate mass suicides last year.

Each year over the past few years, amateurs have discovered about five
or six comets, but the job is getting tougher. “We think that number is
going to go down,” says Green. 

More Competition from the Pros

Professional telescopes, including a New Mexico system run by the U.S.
Air Force, are scanning ever-larger chunks of the sky, looking for
asteroids and comets that could pose a threat to Earth. These automated
systems are finding an increasing number of comets that are still too
faint to be seen by amateurs. But that doesn’t mean amateurs are cut
out of the picture. It just makes it more difficult.

On the other hand, with fewer amateur discoveries, each winner will get
a bigger scoop of the annual $20,000 pot. Green says there is a clear
formula for success.  First and foremost, “you need experience,” he
says. “You have to really get to know the sky well. Usually it takes
experienced observers on the order of 200 to 400 hours of search time
to discover a comet.” And, he adds, “you need a good instrument and
dark skies.”

How to Find a Comet

A good instrument can range from a set of astronomical binoculars,
which have larger lenses to collect more light, to a large amateur

Knowledgeable observers will study the sky soon after dark and just
before sunrise, concentrating on the sky nearest the sun, where comets
generally are at their brightest and more easily seen by amateurs.
Professional astronomers tend to concentrate on the darkest parts of
the sky facing away from the sun, looking for very faint objects still
a long way away.

Unlike point-like stars, a comet is fuzzy, and an experienced observer
can usually pick one out quite quickly. But to the novice, “there are a
lot of things out there that can fool you,” says Green, including star
clusters and clouds of space dust left over by stellar explosions.  At
any given time, a couple of dozen known comets are visible in the night
sky, so unless you know what has already been discovered, you’re likely
laying claim to a comet already on the charts at the International
Astronomical Union. “You wouldn’t believe,” Green says, “how many
people discovered Hale-Bopp a month after it was announced.”

Copyright 1998, ABCNews


From Ron Baalke <>

Information from the European Southern Observatory

12 August 1998                                              

First ESO Image of New Comet 1998 P1

A new comet was discovered on August 10 by amateur astronomer Peter
Williams of Heathcote (near Sydney, Australia). Having received
information about this, other observers on that continent sighted the
new object yesterday, August 11.

Official announcement of this discovery was sent yesterday evening to
all observatories by the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
on IAU Circular no. 6986. The comet, provisionally designated as C/1998
P1, is seen in the southern constellation Circinus (The Compass) and
the magnitude is estimated at about 9.5. This corresponds to about 25
times fainter than what can be seen with the unaided eye. The comet is
easily visible in small telescopes. The orbit (and therefore the
current distance) is not yet known.

Observations of the new comet were made with the 1.54-m Danish
Telescope at the ESO La Silla observatory, immediately in the evening
of August 11. The observers were Hans Kjeldsen (Theoretical
Astrophysics Centre, University of Aarhus, Denmark) and Hermann
Boehnhardt (ESO La Silla, Chile).

The coma diameter is at least 6 arcmin and is almost spherical, with a
slight asymmetry on the tailside. A very thin and quite faint
plasma-tail points in the lower left direction (position angle = 1170 =
"8 o'clock"), which is most likely close to the radial direction
opposite to the Sun (but this can only be confirmed when a first orbit
has been computed). The visible plasma tail extends at least 6.5 arcmin
(beyond the field of view) and is produced by the emission of light
from CO+ (carbon monoxide ions) originating from sublimating ice of the
cometary nucleus. The presence of this tail indicates that the comet is
probably less than 1.5 AU (about 225 million km) from the Sun.

At the time of the ESO observation, the comet was seen in the southern
Milky Way band. The sky field thus contains many background stars whose
images are somewhat trailed because the telescope was set to follow the
motion of the comet. Straylight (reflections in the telescope optics)
from two bright stars, one to the lower left of the comet and the other
one just beyond the lower left corner of the frame, cause bright
extensions in the SSE - NNW direction.

Copyright ESO Education & Public Relations Department
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching, Germany


D. Steel: Distributions and moments of asteroid and comet impact speeds
upon the Earth and Mars. PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE, 1998, Vol.46,
No.5, pp.473-478


Probability distributions of impact speeds (nu) upon the Earth and Mars
are presented for (i) Observed planet-crossing asteroid orbit
distributions, and (ii) The expected distribution of near-parabolic
cometary orbits arriving from the Oort-Opik cloud. For any particular
phenomenon the effect produced may vary as nu(x), and one requires the
mean value [nu(x)] for the analysis (of crater sizes, for example)
rather than [nu](x) as has often been employed. With this in mind the
characteristic values of nu derived from calculations of [nu(x)]for
exponents x = 0.1 to 4.0 are presented. In the bioastronomical context
the two opposite ends of the impact speed distributions are the regions
of interest : the highest speeds to eject rocks which might carry
microbial life to other planets, the lowest speeds to make more likely
the survival of organic chemicals from the impactor. The speed
distributions indicate that cometary impacts are much more likely to
cause ejections from planetary surfaces into heliocentric orbits but,
paradoxically, the objects impacting at speeds low enough to make
organic/volatile survival possible (the asteroids) are those which are
apparently depleted in such constituents. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science
Ltd. All rights reserved.


M. Krolikowska*), G. Sitarski, S. Szutowicz: Model of the
nongravitational motion for comet 32P/Comas Sola. ASTRONOMY AND
ASTROPHYSICS, 1998, Vol.335, No.2, pp.757-764


The nongravitational motion of the periodic comet Comas Sola is studied
on the basis of positional observations made during nine consecutive
revolutions around the Sun. Nongravitational effects in the comet
motion have been examined for Sekanina's forced precession model of the
rotating nucleus. We present three models which successfully link all
the observed apparitions of the comet during 1926-1996. Two solutions
(Models II and III) represent oblate spheroids and the third one (Model
I)- a prolate spheroid (nucleus rotation around its longer axis). We
have determined values of eight parameters: A, eta , I, phi connected
with the rotating comet nucleus, f(p) and s describing the precession
of spin-axis of the nucleus, and two constant time shifts tau(1) and
tau(2) The last two parameters describe displacements of the maximum
value of the known function g(r) with respect to the perihelion time.
The best solution was obtained assuming that between the apparitions of
1935 and of 1944 the time shift changed its value, thus tau(1) and
tau(2) refer to apparitions before and after 1940 Jan. 1, respectively.
Variations of angles I and phi with time, describing the nucleus
spin-axis orientation, are presented. It appears that forced precession
causes the moderate changes of the position of the rotation axis in
space. The ratio of rotational period to radius of the nucleus was
found for each model. The present precession models are in agreement
with sizes and periods of rotation of other cometary nuclei deduced
from observations. The obtained models give some strong constraints on
the physical parameters of the nucleus of comet P/Comas Sola. Assuming
a prolate spheroid for the nucleus of the comet, the expected
rotational period is 14 +/- 4 hours for an equatorial radius of 2 km.
For the same radius, the oblate Model II gives the much smaller
rotational period of 2.4 +/- 0.4 hours. The polar radii are 2.2 km and
1.3 km for the prolate and oblate model, respectively. Copyright 1998,
Institute for Scientific Information Inc.


From The Times, 13 August 1998

Science editor Nigel Hawkes reports on conflicting evidence over global

AMERICAN scientists claim to have resolved one of the biggest puzzles
over global warming. They say that evidence from satellites suggesting
that the atmosphere is cooling, rather than warming, is the result of
an error.

The satellite scientists acknowledge the error, but say that it makes
no difference - because they have found another error that cancels it
out. They claim that, once both corrections are incorporated into the
data, the atmosphere really is cooling - and so the puzzle remains.

US weather satellites have measured the temperature of the atmosphere
since 1979 and, in contrast to observations at ground-level, have shown
a small decline. This has cast doubt over whether global warming is
actually happening, and has been used by critics of the Global Climate

But according to the new analysis, reported in Nature, the satellite
data is wrong because it fails to take account of the slow decay of the
satellites' orbits, which brings them slightly closer to Earth every
year. The decline is small - three quarters of a mile a year - but it
makes a significant difference, report Frank Wentz and Matthias
Schabel, of Remote Sensing Systems, a company based in Santa
Rosa, California.

When the satellite is looking straight down, the annual change in
height makes virtually no difference to the accuracy of its
thermometers. They measure the temperature of the atmosphere by
detecting microwave radiation emitted by oxygen atoms - the hotter the
atoms, the stronger the radiation.

But when the instruments are looking sideways, towards the edge of the
Earth, the angle of view matters. Small changes in that angle, caused
by the decay of the orbit, can have significant effects on the
temperature recorded.

When allowances are made for these effects, the two scientists find
that, rather than showing a decline in temperature in the lower
troposphere of 0.05C per decade, the satellites show an increase of
0.07C per decade. While this is only half the rate of increase observed
at the surface, it removes an anomaly in the satellite measurements,
which had shown warming at some levels of the troposphere and cooling
at other levels, in conflict with climatologists' expectations.

John Christy, of the University of Huntsville in Alabama, one of the
scientists responsible for measuring the satellite temperatures,
concedes that the decay theory is right. But he says that, on
re-examining the data, he has found two other sources of error that, by
coincidence, cancel out the effects of orbital decay.

These errors are caused by the slow movement of the orbit, which means
that the satellites do not cross the Equator at the same time every
day, and by slowly accumulating instrument errors. "When these changes
are also included, the result is a continued fall in satellite-measured
temperatures," Simon Brown, of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction
and Research at the Meteorological Office, said. "So there is still a
contradiction between ground-based and satellite-based temperatures."

The problem is made more acute by the fact that balloon-based
measurements of the temperature of the atmosphere during the same
period - 1979-95 - back the satellite data, and show a small cooling.
Looked at over a longer period, from the 1950s, the balloon data showed
an increase, Dr Brown said.

So what is happening? Dr Brown suggests that, over the relatively short
time covered by the satellite data, natural fluctuations in the
atmosphere could have created the anomaly. It is possible, he says,
that, during this period, the atmosphere could have been diverging from
the Earth's surface.

Critics of global warming, however, will continue to use the satellite
and balloon data to argue that nothing is happening, and that the issue
is literally hot air.

Copyright 1998, The Times Newspapers Ltd. 


D.A. Spiller*), J.B. Losos, T.W. Schoener: Impact of a catastrophic
hurricane on island populations. SCIENCE, 1998, Vol.281, No.5377,


Lizard and spider populations were censused immediately before and
after Hurricane Lili on islands differentially affected by the storm
surge. The results support three general propositions. First, the
larger organisms, Lizards, are more resistant to the immediate impact
of moderate disturbance, whereas the more prolific spiders recover
faster. Second, extinction risk is related to population size when
disturbance is moderate but not when it is catastrophic. Third, after
catastrophic disturbance, the recovery rate among different types of
organisms is related to dispersal ability. The absence of the poorer
dispersers Lizards, from many suitable islands is probably the result
of long-lasting effects of catastrophes. Copyright 1998, Institute for
Scientific Information Inc.


From Jonathan TATE <>

Dear All,

I will be Absent on Leave for 10 days, 13-23 Aug, thankfully totally
incommunicado!  On return I will be "mail-shotting" my new address,
assuming that all goes well.

As some light holiday entertainment, I enclose the latest iteration of
our proposal for "doing something".  Costings for the various options
are being refined, and a big thank you to all who have contributed
comments and help.

Have good times

All the best for now,

Jay Tate



The threat posed to mankind by the impact of an asteroid or comet is
now widely recognised as one of the most significant risks to human
civilisation, yet there is no co-ordinated international effort to
identify threatening Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) or to deal with them
once detected. The United Kingdom has unique intellectual and physical
resources that could put the nation at the forefront of any
international Planetary Defence programme.  We propose the
establishment of a United Kingdom programme designed to detect
potentially threatening NEO's, to make follow-up observations to
establish their orbits, and to conduct studies into their physical
properties to facilitate the development of mitigation measures
should they become necessary.


Over the past decade or so it has become apparent that asteroidal and
cometary impacts have played a dramatic, possibly leading role in the
development of this planet, and the evolution of life. Natural Science
is in the throes of a revolution in thinking, akin to that that
occurred after the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection”. With this understanding comes
the realisation that there is no reason to believe that this
extraterrestrial influence is at an end, and the possibility that a
major impact could severely disrupt, or even destroy our current way of
life on a global scale is one to be considered seriously.

As a result of this ongoing research there is a growing international
movement dedicated to quantifying and assessing the risk, and to
determining methods of avoiding threatening impacts. While the subject
has traditionally suffered from a great deal of scepticism this
attitude is now generally seen as archaic, and the matter has become
one of serious research.

Spaceguard UK

Spaceguard UK is a non-governmental organisation, established on 1st
January 1997 to pursue the following aims:

? To promote and encourage British activities involving the discovery and
follow-up observations of Near Earth Objects (NEO's).

? To promote the study of the physical and dynamic properties of asteroids
and comets, with particular emphasis on NEO's.

? To promote the establishment of an international, ground based
surveillance network (the Spaceguard Project) for the discovery, observation
and follow-up study of NEO's.

? To provide a national United Kingdom information service to raise public
awareness of the NEO threat, and technology available to predict and avoid
dangerous impacts.

These aims are embedded in, and drive the Spaceguard UK Action Plan that has
been endorsed by the UK NEO Working Group as the way ahead.

Spaceguard UK Membership


Patrons are those individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the
field of NEO studies, or who have special qualifications that enable them to
significantly further the aims of Spaceguard UK..  Sir Bernard Lovell, Sir
Crispin Tickell, Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Dr Patrick Moore are Patrons of
Spaceguard UK.

Associate Membership

Associate Members are those currently involved in activities or studies
related to Planetary Defence, and who will form a core of multi-disciplinary
expertise in the subject. Anyone wishing to become an Associate Member is
invited to contact Spaceguard UK.  The following are already Associate

Dr David Asher
Professor M E Bailey
Dr M Baillie
Dr Sue Bowler
Dr S V M Clube
Simon Clucas
Dr Matthew Genge
Dr Monica Grady
Dr Simon Green
Dr M Grady
Peter Grego
Dr John Gribbin
Dr N J Holloway
Dr B J Peiser
Dr P Roche
Dr J E Salt
Robin Scagell
Peter Snow
Dr D Steel
Dr. David W. Hughes
Dr Ian Lyon
Professor J A M McDonnell
Dr Brian Marsden
Dr Michael Martin-Smith
Robert Matthews
Dr Jacqueline Mitton
Dr W M Napier
Mr. Nick Pope
Dr P Roche
Dr Jasper Wall
Dr Gareth Williams
Professor I P Williams
Jerry Workman
Dr J Zarnecki

Visiting Membership

Visiting Members are those currently involved in activities or studies
related to the NEO Impact Threat, or who have made outstanding contributions
in the field of NEO studies but who are not British nationals, or working in
the United Kingdom. Visiting membership now includes:

Dr Mike A'Hearn
Dr Walter Alvarez
Dave Balam
Professor Richard Binzel
Peter Brown
Dr Greg Canavan
Dr Nikolaj Chernykh
Dr Paul Chodas
Dr Paolo Farinella
Dr Andrea Carusi
Dr Tom Gehrels
Maj. Wynn Greene
Dr Alan W. Harris
Dr Scott Hudson
Dr Eleanor Helin
Lt Col Lindley Johnson
Dr Syuzo Isobe
Bob Kobres
Dr Claes-Ingvar Lagerkvist
Dr Steve Larson
David Levy
Dr Alain Maury
Dr Robert McMillan
Dr Andrea Milani
Dr Karri Muinonen
Professor W Mullen
Dr Steven Ostro
Dr Steven Pravdo
Dr Petr Pravec
Dr David Rabinowitz
Dr Hans Rickman
Dr Joel Schiff
Dr. Ken Seidelmann
Dr Carolyn Shoemaker
Dr Viktor Shor
Dr Milos Tichy
Dr Jana Ticha
Dr G. Verschuur
Colonel S.P Worden USAF
Dr Don Yeomans

General Membership

General Membership is open to any individual with an interest in the subject
of the NEO Impact Threat. Applicants are invited to contact Spaceguard UK
with a brief statement of their interest and any relevant qualifications
that might be of use or interest to other members.  There are currently over
100 General Members.

Corporate Membership

Corporate Membership is open to those organisations or societies that share
the aims of Spaceguard UK, and are willing to abide by the provisions of the
Spaceguard UK Charter. The following organisations are Corporate Members:

Modern Astronomer Magazine
Meteorite Magazine
The Association of Popular Astronomy

Spaceguard UK Activities

Members of Spaceguard UK have already been active in promoting the
assessment of the United Kingdom’s contribution to the international NEO
detection effort. A number of well-publicised meetings have been
precipitated by the activities of Spaceguard UK, bringing the subject of
Planetary Defence from the realm of a handful of experts to the corridors of
the House of Commons and the British media in less than nine months.
Spaceguard has been declared the prime British non-governmental organisation
concerned with Planetary Defence and the impact threat, and is the most
influential body of its type in the country.

Current activities are concentrated on ensuring that the consensus achieved
at the meetings of the UK NEO Working Group is transformed into meaningful
action by the British government and organisations world-wide. This will be
achieved through continued co-operation with the institutions listed above,
an active and ongoing press campaign and the dissemination of information to
the general public by physical and electronic means.

Over the past eighteen months, members of Spaceguard UK have been involved
in over a dozen television appearances, six radio broadcasts, and have had
more than twenty articles published in popular and professional journals.
In addition, eight public lectures have been delivered country-wide.

A quarterly newsletter, IMPACT, containing news and articles of interest is
distributed to all members.

The Spaceguard UK Project Proposal


Any project undertaken to detect, follow-up and or determine the physical
properties of NEO's must be co-ordinated with other programmes world-wide.
The threat is global; therefore the solution should also be global.  In
addition, there are good practical reasons for a global programme.

Before a project such as this can have any chance of success, a programme of
public education must be undertaken to heighten awareness of the need for it
in the first place.  Spaceguard UK is conducting such a programme now.

While Spaceguard UK has so far had no practical involvement in specific NEO
search or follow-up projects, we have been incidentally campaigning for the
modification of the UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) to be used in such a role.
This project was viable as the UKST was due for decommissioning in the near
future.  However, it has recently become clear that the UK UKST has been
"reprieved" and is going to be fitted with a new Multi Object Spectrograph,
called 6DF.  It is highly likely that this will preclude any possibility of
using the UKST as part of the global NEO detection network for at least the
next three to five years.  Consequently, alternative contributions that the
UK can make to the international effort must be considered.

It is clear that no funding for any NEO related project is likely to be
forthcoming from government sources in the foreseeable future, so resources
will be sought from individual and commercial sponsors.  This will also
avoid the possible problem of the transfer of resources from other areas of
scientific research.

A number of comprehensive and well-documented studies have been undertaken,
mainly in the USA, to determine the requirements for detection and follow-up


The priorities for any international Spaceguard project must be:

1. Detection and cataloguing of all Near Earth Objects larger than one
kilometre in diameter. (NASA target is for this to be accomplished within 10
years), and identification of potential hazards.

2. Follow-up astrometric observations.

3. Physical studies of asteroids and comets.


? The only way to achieve priorities 1 and 2 is to conduct an observational
programme.  Without the data resulting from observation, priority 3 cannot
proceed.  Therefore, at this stage, an observational programme should be the
first priority for Spaceguard UK.

? The requirements for such a programme are well documented, and undisputed.

? The necessary trained personnel to design, build and operate the required
instrumentation exist, but unless their expertise is used, this resource
will be lost.

? The sole limiting factor is funding.

Scientific Case

Recent years have seen the initiation of large-scale surveys of small bodies
(comets, asteroids, and meteoroids) in the solar system. The detailed
physical and chemical composition of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), which pass
close to Earth and are relatively easy targets for ground-based observations
and space missions and provides key information on the primordial material
that built the planets. Studies of the main asteroid belt have produced new
insight into its dynamical and collisional evolution, and have shown in
particular that the main belt is a significant source of observed NEOs.
Moreover, the number of known low-activity comets is steadily increasing,
leading to new estimates of the number of such bodies and of their
relationship to asteroids.  The discovery of large comets or asteroids in
the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt beyond Neptune and of the Centaur population
(between Saturn and Neptune) has also opened up a whole new area of
investigation, allowing the remnants of the Sun's own protoplanetary disc to
be studied.

The processes by which Near-Earth Objects are produced from storage in the
main belt, the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt or the Oort cloud are complex,
involving fundamental aspects of Hamiltonian dynamics and detailed physical
and collisional modelling. Such studies play a key role in theories of the
origin of the solar system and of the formation and evolution of the Earth
and other planets. An understanding of the latter is a prerequisite to
developing a coherent understanding of newly discovered planetary systems
around other stars.

These rapid developments in solar system astronomy are observationally
driven, and have arisen against a background of unprecedented activity in
space science (missions such as Galileo NEAR, Clementine 2, Rosetta,
Stardust, Deep Space 1, Deep Space 4), the passage of recent, bright comets
(Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp), a significant increase in NEO discoveries, and
growing public and international concern about the possible impact threat to
the biosphere. Nevertheless, progress up to now has been painstakingly slow,
relying on the study of a handful of objects at a time and often taking
years to produce significant results. A dedicated 2.5 metre telescope in the
Southern Hemisphere would produce a significant increase in the number of
objects available for study.

The scientific community has a responsibility and duty to those whose who
finance its activities to address subjects of current interest and concern.
Research into small solar bodies provides ground truth for an assessment of
the impact hazard to civilisation, at the same time providing fundamental
results on the origin and evolution of the solar system. The research is
timely and should be given high priority. Moreover, the planetary science
community in the UK is uniquely placed in terms of its interests and
expertise to make significant contributions to the field.

The UK NEO Research Community

There is wide and increasing interest in this area of research, especially
at Armagh, (Queen’s University Belfast, QMW, UKC, Sheffield University, and
in comparative planetology at the OU, Manchester, the NHM, Lancaster and

The UK community has a strong tradition in both the theory and
of small solar system bodies, and maintains a highly successful
international profile in both areas.

Possible International Partnerships

UK astronomers and Spaceguard UK have many international links. EU network
collaborators and others include groups with specific interests in
observational and dynamical studies.  These include:

DLR Berlin (Neukum, Hahn)
University of Helsinki (Muinonen)
University of Namur (Henrard)
Nice Observatory (Scholl, Froeschle, Maury)
University of Pisa (Farinella, Milani)
University of Thessaloniki (Hadjidemetriou)
University Torino (Zappala, Cellino)
University of Uppsala (Rickman, Lagerkvist).

In addition, Spaceguard UK has links with organisations such as:

The Spaceguard Foundation, (Carusi, Marsden)
Spacewatch (Gehrels, Scotti)
Instituto di Astrofisica Spaziale, Rome (Valsecchi)
The Japanese NAO/Kiso Schmidt (Isobe)
Lowell Observatory (Russell, Bowell),
The IAU MPC (Marsden, Williams)
Spaceguard Australia
Spaceguard Japan
Spaceguard Germany
Spaceguard Croatia
Relevant US DoD (AFSPC) staff.

International collaboration would enhance the expertise available to
researchers, and would provide additional theoretical and observational
input to the project.

Options Open

The options open to Spaceguard UK are:

1. Build, or participate in the building and operating of a new, dedicated
search and follow-up telescope.

2. Find an existing, available telescope suitable for use in a detection and
follow-up programme.

3. Establish a dedicated team to study NEO's, and possibly to conduct
"precovery" searches, using the UKST Plate Library at ROE.

4. Establish an amateur network for follow up observation.

The effectiveness of these programmes will be proportional to their costs -
you get what you are willing to pay for.

Option 1 - Build a New, Dedicated Search and Follow-Up Telescope.


Without doubt, to build a new 2.5-metre telescope, with the associated
infrastructure is the "Rolls-Royce" option, and is bound to be the most
expensive.  However, a project such as this could be undertaken in
collaboration with commercial interests, other nations or organisations such
as the Spaceguard Foundation who already have plans for a search telescope
in Namibia.

Development and building costs will be substantial, and in addition to the
capital costs, running costs would have to be factored into the budget. It
is almost certain that external funding would be required, probably from
private and commercial sponsorship.  However, the advantages of a purpose
built instrument, operating in the most advantageous location (probably in
the Southern Hemisphere) are considerable.  There would be no conflicts of
interest, and observing time would be guaranteed.  There may also be
possibilities for other research projects, using the instrument.

Given the political and fiscal climate, this option is probably the most
likely to come to fruition, but will entirely depend on adequate funding
being obtained from private and commercial sources.

Project Phases

? Phase 1 - Groundwork       Y 0 - 0.5

Initial team selection
Feasibility Study
Initial sponsorship trawl.

? Phase 2 - Preparation       Y 0.5 - 1

Compilation of a business plan.
Co-ordination with the Spaceguard Foundation
Initial design and costing of the Spaceguard Telescope.
Site selection
Personnel Selection
Costing of necessary infrastructure.

? Phase 3 - Funding and Support      Y 1 - 2

Search for sponsorship.
Lobbying of national and international organisations for funding and
support.  (Commercial interests, IAU, NASA, UN, DTI, BNSC, PPARC, Academia,

? Phase 4 - Development       Y 2 - 3.5

Hardware and software development
Establishment of link with MPC
Site preparation
Personnel training

? Phase 5 - Construction       Y 3.5 - 4.5

Construction of necessary infrastructure
Telescope construction
Personnel Training (continues)

? Phase 6 - Trials and Testing      Y 4.5 - 5.5

Initial operations, trials and testing
Hardware testing and integration
Software validation
System integration

? Phase 7 - Operations       Y 5.5 ->



Capital costs

Primary Mirror 2.5 m, f.2.5   800,000
Corrector Plate     150,000
Tube and Structure (Alt-Az)   1,500,000
Dome      500,000
CCD array, processor    2,000,000

Running and maintenance costs   450,000 pa

The total cost of a ten-year programme would therefore be 9,450,000

OPTION 2 - Find an Existing Telescope Suitable for Use in a Detection and
Follow-Up Programme.


For follow-up studies a telescope in the 1-metre range would suffice. There
are a number of possibilities here.  At Herstmonceux there is a 29" Hewitt
Schmidt telescope. It may be possible to modify this instrument to use as an
Automatic Patrol Telescope; a similar concept to the ex-US Air Force
Baker-Nunn instrument developed by the University of New South Wales.

Given the likely time-line for Option 1, it may be feasible to consider the
use of the UKST again.  It is possible that the Multi-Object Spectrograph
project will be complete before Spaceguard is ready for system integration.
Should this be the case, the UKST will become the most powerful search
instrument in the world, and give the United Kingdom a global lead.

It is impossible at this stage to estimate the costs involved in the
re-roling of any available instruments (other than the UKST), but they are
certain to be less than those for Option 1.

Project Phases

? Phase 1 - Groundwork       Y 0 - 0.5

Initial team selection
Feasibility Study
Initial sponsorship trawl.

? Phase 2 - Preparation       Y 0.5 - 1

Compilation of a business plan.
Co-ordination with the AAO
Initial design and costing of the Spaceguard CCD system.
Personnel Selection
Costing of necessary support resources (IT, Communications).

? Phase 3 - Funding and Support      Y 1 - 2

Search for sponsorship.
Lobbying of national and international organisations for funding and
support.  (Commercial interests, IAU, NASA, UN, DTI, BNSC, PPARC, Academia,

? Phase 4 - Development       Y 2 - 3.5

Hardware and software development
Establishment of link with MPC
Personnel training

? Phase 5 - Trials and Testing      Y 3.5 - 4

Initial operations, trials and testing
Hardware testing and integration
Software validation
System integration

? Phase 6 - Operations       Y 4 ->



Costing for the modifications to the Herstmonceux Hewitt Schmidt are
ongoing, but are likely to be less than 100,000.

Capital costs (CCD array, processor)   15,000
Running and maintenance costs   200,000 pa

The total cost of a ten-year programme would therefore be 2,115,000

OPTION 3 - Establish A Dedicated Team to Study NEO's, and to Conduct
"Precovery" Searches, Using the UKST Plate Library at ROE.


There is an essential requirement to study of the physical and dynamic
properties of asteroids and comets, with particular emphasis on Near Earth
Objects.  There is already substantial work being done in this field in the
UK, but the creation of a study team dedicated to the investigation of
NEO's, and possibly to utilise the UKST Plate Library at ROE for "precovery"
work, would enhance world-wide knowledge of the threat and possible
countermeasures.  In addition, it would demonstrate the UK's commitment to
the global Spaceguard programme.

Elements of this option will almost certainly be an adjunct to Options
1 and 2, as any search and/or follow-up instrument will require
operational and analytical staff.

Project Phases

? Phase 1 - Groundwork       Y 0 - 0.5

Initial team selection
Feasibility Study
Initial sponsorship trawl.

? Phase 2 - Preparation       Y 0.5 - 1

Compilation of a business plan.
Operational Personnel Selection
Costing of necessary support resources (IT, Communications).

? Phase 3 - Funding and Support      Y 1 - 2

Search for sponsorship.
Lobbying of national and international organisations for funding and support
(Commercial interests, IAU, NASA, UN, DTI, BNSC, PPARC, Academia, SGF)

? Phase 4 - Development       Y 2 - 2.5

Hardware and software development
Establishment of link with MPC
Personnel training

? Phase 5 - Operations       Y 2.5 ->

Operations & upgrades


Project costs will depend on the size of team chosen, and the requirement
for hardware and support.  It is unlikely that costs would exceed:

Set-up costs     100,000
Running costs     150,000 pa

OPTION 4 - Establish an Amateur Network for Follow-Up Observation.


Amateurs around the world already do much of the follow-up observational
work.  However, the task requires dedication, and a certain amount of fairly
expensive equipment.  It is unlikely that it would be possible to establish
an effective network in the UK for an extended period of time without fairly
substantial funding for equipment and the establishment of an effective


It is recommended that Spaceguard UK adopt a two-track approach to project
implementation.  The main thrust of the campaign will be towards obtaining
funding for Option 1, the construction of a dedicated 2.5 metre telescope
for NEO detection and follow-up.  Simultaneously, Spaceguard UK will
endeavour to obtain funding for the development of a prototype APT at
Herstmonceux, using the Hewitt Schmidt telescope.  This latter project will
have two "selling points"; firstly it will be a tangible programme,
operating in the UK, providing a public showpiece for Spaceguard UK, and
secondly it will act as a test-bed for hardware and software development.


The achievement of Option 1 is "do-able" if suitable funding can be
obtained.  The amount required is not unachievable, but will require a
watertight case (which we have) and some coherent persuasion.  In attempting
to obtain the necessary sponsorship, the support of the extensive Spaceguard
UK membership will be essential.

Finally, it is worth remembering the six phases of a typical project:

1. Enthusiasm
2. Disillusionment
3. Panic
4. Search for the guilty
5. Punishment of the innocent
6. Praise and honours for the non-participants

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