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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)
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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.