Date of Award





Earth and Space Science - Astrophysics and Planetary Geology Track


Earth & Space Science


The Minor Planet Center alerts researchers about potential discoveries of new Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) on their NEO Confirmation Page (NEOCP). Most of these are indeed previously unstudied objects, which must be studied very promptly while initial predictions of their motions are still accurate. My thesis project has focused on the observation of these bodies, and the submission of their measured positions to the MPC within a few hours of observation. Data has been obtained using the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network, including the R-COP telescope in Perth, Australia; the PROMPT 3 telescope in La Serena, Chile; and Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. I was also granted access to the private Stone Edge Observatory telescope in El Verano, California. In addition to NEOCP hunting, 1 have used similar methods to recover previously discovered objects whose predicted positions are becoming so uncertain that without new observations, they will become effectively lost.