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MAUNAKEA SKIES Astronomy Talk Series - The Search for Near-Earth Objects

  • ʻImiloa Astronomy Center 600 Imiloa Place Hilo, HI, 96720 United States (map)

Earth continues to be hit by objects such as asteroids and comets. Fortunately, impacts by large objects are rare. Congress has asked NASA to discover at least 90% of all Near-Earth Objects with a diameter of 140 meters or larger in order to reduce the risk to life from the impact of a large object. The two Pan-STARRS telescopes on Haleakala, Maui, are a funded by the NASA Near-Earth Object Observation Program. These telescopes search the sky every clear night for potentially hazardous objects. They presently discover almost half of all new Near-Earth Objects. Some of the telescopes on Maunakea, including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, are used to establish orbits for these newly discovered objects, and to characterize them. While searching for Near-Earth Objects, Pan-STARRS1 discovered the first interstellar object, `Oumuamua; Pan-STARRS has made numerous other important discoveries. In this talk the Pan-STARRS survey and techniques used to discover these Near-Earth Objects as well as some of the techniques that could be used to deflect a possible future Earth impact will be explained.

Join Dr. Richard Wainscoat from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in his presentation on the Search for Near-Earth Objects on Friday, August 16 at ‘Imiloa’s planetarium, 7pm, where he will explain surveys done, techniques used, and discoveries made, including potentially hazardous Near-Earth Objects, with the Pan-STARRS Telescopes on Haleakala.