by Luya Wang, VI Form and SSP ’13
with Matthew Estrada-Millican (SSP ’13) and Bradley Emi (SSP ’13) All authors contributed equally to this work.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Luya completed this project on July 20, 2013 at The Summer Science Program in New Mexico:
“a residential enrichment program which accelerates the intellectual and social development of promising young scientists. Each summer 72 gifted high school students, selected from hundreds of applicants, complete a challenging research project. By day, they learn college-level astronomy, physics, calculus, and programming. By night, working in teams of three, they take telescopic images of a near-earth asteroid, then write software to calculate the asteroid’s orbit around the sun” (summerscience.org).
The purpose of this research was to determine the orbit of near-Earth asteroid 1998 QE2 from ground-based observations using the Gaussian method. The orbit was determined using four ground-based observations over the course of approximately one month. Three observations were taken from Etscorn Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, United States, and one observation was taken from Cerro Tololo Observatory in La Serena, Chile.
Please click on this link to an accessible Google doc to read Luya’s impressive work, replete with “Methods” and “Results,” including equations, graphs, images, and data charts: