New telescope will spot dangers from space

New telescope will hunt dangerous asteroids

A new telescope designed to spot potentially dangerous asteroids has taken its first test images. When it is upgraded with the world's largest camera in 2007, it will be able to find space rocks as small as a few hundred metres wide.

The PS1 telescope is the first of four identical instruments in a project called the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). It boasts a 1.8-metre mirror and is located in Hawaii, US.

The 1.8-metre PS1 telescope sits in its dome atop Haleakala, Hawaii (Image: Pan-STARRS/University of Hawaii)
MKO panorama
Dangers from space
CameraLearn about the threat to Earth from asteroids & comets and how the Pan-STARRS project is designed
to help detect these NEOs. Learn more...

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The Threat to Earth from Asteroids & Comets

Pan-STARRS will complete the survey of all 1-km diameter objects, and will detect most of the dangerous objects down to 300 meters in diameter -- objects that can cause major regional catastrophes should they hit the Earth.

Animation of asteroids in the solar system. The central white object is the Sun; the others are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter respectively. Blue dots are asteroids whose orbits do not cross the Earth's orbit, and yellow dots are Earth-crossing asteroids. Animation by Nick Kaiser

clipped from web.mit.edu

Detectors developed at Lincoln Laboratory deployed in powerful telescope

Silicon chips developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory are at the heart of a new survey telescope that will soon provide a more than fivefold improvement in scientists' ability to detect asteroids and comets that could someday pose a threat to the planet.

clipped from www.ifa.hawaii.edu
University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
Gigapixel camera
Peter Onaka (left) and John Tonry assemble the Pan-STARRS Gigapixel Camera. Photo
by Richard Wainscoat.
clipped from www.ifa.hawaii.edu
clipped from www.ifa.hawaii.edu
clipped from www.ifa.hawaii.edu

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New telescope will hunt dangerous asteroids - space - 27 June 2006 - New Scientist
Pan-Starrs - Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System - Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
World's biggest digital camera to join asteroid search - space - 04 September 2007 - New Scientist
Early warning of dangerous asteroids and comets - MIT News Office
MIT Lincoln Laboratory: Lincoln Laboratory supplies detectors for world's most advanced digital camera