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Dr David Asher visits Ballyrobert

The next meeting of the East Antrim Astronomical Society takes place on Monday December 2nd. in the Thompson Primary School, Ballyrobert, Co. Antrim, starting at 8pm. sharp. The guest speaker will be Dr David Asher from the Armagh Observatory.

The title of his lecture will be: "Surveying the Skies for Hazardous Asteroids".

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John McConnell, EAAS Chairman chats to Dr David Asher

Eventually our luck will run out and an asteroidal or cometary body, large enough to do significant damage at ground level, will be on its way to impact our planet. So-called "Spaceguard" surveys are aimed at finding as many as possible of the potentially hazardous near-Earth objects so that we can keep careful track of them.

Although most of these surveys began fairly recently, many substantial advances have been made in the past few years. The lecture will describe the current status of this work.

Dr Asher is one of the world's leading experts in this field, currently dividing his time between Armagh and Japan where, at the invitation of the Japan Spaceguard Association, he is working at the Bisei Spaceguard Centre, Japan.

However, in recent years has also worked closely with Robert McNaught of the Australian National University, in predicting so precisely, the Leonid Meteor Storms to within a few minutes.

Dr Asher was born in Edinburgh, and between school and university got a kind of student vacation job with Dr Victor Clube and Professor Bill Napier at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. It was here that he gained his interest in astronomy.

Later, he did his research degree under Clube, and his D.Phil. thesis was on the Taurid meteor stream. He then went to work with Dr Duncan Steel's near-Earth asteroid programme in Australia, (since closed down by the Australian Government), learnt what a telescope was, (his words!), and got to know Robert McNaught.

It was during his time in Australia that he discovered a number of asteroids, one of which has recently been named (16693) Moseley in honour of Terry Moseley, current President of the Irish Astronomical Association, and good friend of the EAAS.

His current job at Armagh is to work with the Director, Professor Mark Bailey, doing theoretical (computational) studies in solar system dynamics. The research project is about sun grazing and Jupiter grazing objects in particular, such as comets and asteroids.

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For further information contact the EAAS Chairman.

 

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