Discovering new objects in space

by dwaymire on February 18, 2010

70 years ago this week, Pluto was discovered using a telescope with photographic equipment attached to it. The concept is pretty simple. Take pictures of the same area of the sky over a period of time. Anything moving is a celestial object that is relatively close to the earth.

Celestron main mirror
Creative Commons License photo credit: Elsie esq.

How easy would it be to discover an object yourself? If you have a telescope, preferably with a motorized tripod, and the ability to hook up a digital camera to it, you might be able to do it.

Take pictures of the same spot in the sky over a period of time. Bring those photos into Photoshop or some other image editing software, look for changes in the images. You just might have found a new asteroid!!! Then it will be time to call the IAU.

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