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The Minor Planet Observer
and
Palmer Divide Observatory

2007 Shoemaker Grant Recipient

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The Planetary Society has awarded Brian D. Warner, owner/director of the Palmer Divide Observatory, one of several Shoemaker NEO Grants for 2007.
The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker NEO Grant program seeks to assist amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and under-funded professional observers contributing to vital NEO research. The grant awarded to the Palmer Divide Observatory will be used to purchase a 0.35m LX-200 GPS telescope. Coupled with an SBIG ST-9E, the telescope will be used for an extensive program to determine the absolute magnitude (H) and slope parameter (G) for main-belt and near-Earth asteroids.

The H value is directly related to the size of an asteroid. This information is vital to the study of NEAs, in particular for assessing their potential threat should one be found to be on a collision course with Earth.

The G value is useful for determining the surface structure of the asteroid by seeing how the asteroid's magnitude changes with changing geometry and, most important, within 7 of opposition, where the magnitude increases more than simple geometry would allow. This "opposition effect" varies according to the taxonomic type of asteroid and the nature of its regolith (surface).

Reports to the Planetary Society. Reports to the Society must be filed at least every six months for the first two years.