||The Planetary Societys 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.
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).