What is this?

This website is dedicated to the Citizen Science project Active Asteroids, launching on the Zooniverse in 2021. The project is dedicated to locating new active objects, especially active asteroids (asteroids with comet-like features such as tails). These objects will help us understand where water on Earth originated, how much was delivered after our planet was born, and where volatiles like water are found throughout the solar system today.

The image to the right shows aster (6478) Gault in 2013, some six years earlier than when it was finally discovered to be active. Our discovery showed that this unusual asteroid has in fact been active for many years, not just a recent outburst (or even explosion) as some scientists originally suspected. The white arrows indicate the tail, the yellow arrow points away from the Sun, the red (-v) arrow the direction opposite of the asteroid's motion, and the compass directions (on the sky) are shown as well. The dark "slash" across the tail is actually a cosmic ray.