The 2002 Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) Grants, totaling $28,290 (US), were awarded to an international collection of amateur astronomers and researchers.
- James McGaha from Tucson, Arizona.
- John Broughton from Reedy Creek in Queensland, Australia.
- Matt Dawson from the Roeser Observatory in Luxembourg.
- Roy Tucker from Tucson, Arizona.
- Richard Kowalski from Zephyrhills, Florida.
These dedicated observers and their projects were selected from a group of 37 proposals that The Planetary Society received from 13 different countries. Each Shoemaker Grant proposal offered ways to better our understanding of Near Earth Objects, which couldn't have be more appropriate, with the recent discovery of Asteroid 2002 NT7 and all of the media attention it has received. With so many highly qualified proposals, the selection committee's choice was a difficult one.
James McGaha, an amateur astronomer from Tucson, AZ, was awarded $10,000 to automate the operations of his 0.62-m telescope. His Grasslands Observatory is located at a superb dark site at an altitude of 5,000 feet, but its remote location 55 miles from Tucson does not allow for maximum fulfillment of its potential. The Shoemaker NEO grant awarded to McGaha will be used to install a computerized control system to allow automated operations at Grasslands Observatory and considerably improve the efficiency of the NEO observations he will make.
John Broughton, an extremely active observer from Reedy Creek in Queensland, Australia, has been awarded $8,140 for the purchase of an Apogee AP6Ep CCD camera to be used on a new computer-controlled 0.46-m telescope. The new CCD camera purchased with Shoemaker NEO grant funding will immediately be put to work making follow-up position reports on fast moving NEOs and NEOs that cannot be seen by northern hemisphere observers.
Matt Dawson, a dedicated amateur NEO observer representing the Roeser Observatory in Luxembourg and the Cote de Meuse Observatory in France, has been awarded $6,300 to purchase an Apogee AP47 CCD camera that will be used to follow-up faint NEO discoveries. Dawson will use the new CCD camera at both observatories, where he will be able to reach magnitudes as faint as V=21.
Read updates from Dawson: June 6, 2006
Roy Tucker of Tucson, AZ has been awarded $2,950 to purchase software and computer equipment. Tucker's three telescope/camera systems produce more data that any one person can fully examine and measure, so with the help of the grant, he can now distribute the data among fellow local amateur observers to help him in the reduction and analysis of data.
Richard Kowalski of Zephyrhills, FL is the owner, founder, and maintainer of the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML) (http://www.bitnik.com/mp), which over the last four years has become a vital link between observers and other researchers worldwide involved in NEOs and other minor planets. It costs Kowalski approximately $300 per year to run and maintain the MPML and its associated web pages. The Planetary Society will award Kowalski $300 per year for the next 3 years to fund MPML operations, a bargain considering its value to the NEO community.
Read updates from Kowalski: September 16, 2003
The Planetary Society would like to thank the other Shoemaker NEO Grant applicants.
The Planetary Society's Shoemaker NEO Grant program funds advanced amateur astronomers to find, track, and characterize potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.