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Lunch Lecture Series: Hunting Asteroids

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During the past few years, the discovery of new near-Earth objects (NEOs) has grown significantly, with new and more powerful telescopes finding many smaller objects of 10 meters or less hurtling through space. Those objects are obviously not as threating in as the km-sized ones that can cause global consequences if they impact our planet, but they can still cause significant local damage if they impact a populated area, which is what occurred in Russia in 2014 when an asteroid impact injured about 2000 people.

As an astronomer an NEO observer, Marco Micheli has been studying asteroids for over 20 years. In this edition of the RHEA Group Lunch Lecture Series, Micheli will present the European Space Agency’s program focused on the monitoring of asteroids that can collide with the Earth, with a particular focus on the observational activities and how they are used to understand the risk posed by specific asteroids. You will learn about the potential danger of asteroid collisions, and how observations and mathematical computation may help mitigating the hazard.

The presenter

Marco Micheli (b. 1983) got his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii in 2013. He currently works at ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA)-NEO Coordination Centre in Frascati, Italy, performing observations of near-Earth asteroids with telescopes located all over the world.

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