Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking

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Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking
AbbreviationNEAT
Predecessor Palomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey
Successor Near Earth Object Program
FormationDecember 1995 (1995-12)
Founded at Haleakalā Observatory, Maui, Hawaii
DissolvedApril 2007 (2007-04)
TypeSpace observation program
Legal statusDisbanded
PurposeTo search for and map out near-earth asteroids
Principal Investigator
Raymond Bambery
Co-Investigator and Project Manager
Steven H. Pravdo
Co-Investigators
David L. Rabinowitz, Ken Lawrence and Michael Hicks
Main organ
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Parent organization
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Website neat.jpl.nasa.gov

Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) was a program run by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, surveying the sky for near-Earth objects. NEAT was conducted from December 1995 until April 2007, at GEODSS on Hawaii (Haleakala-NEAT; 566), as well as at Palomar Observatory in California (Palomar-NEAT; 644). With the discovery of more than 40 thousand minor planets, NEAT has been one of the most successful programs in this field, comparable to the Catalina Sky Survey, LONEOS and Mount Lemmon Survey. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

NEAT was the successor to the Palomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey (PCAS).

History

Number of NEOs detected by various projects:
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LINEAR

NEAT

Spacewatch

LONEOS
CSS

Pan-STARRS

NEOWISE

All others Neo-chart.png
Number of NEOs detected by various projects:
   LINEAR
  NEAT
   Spacewatch
   LONEOS
   CSS
   Pan-STARRS
   NEOWISE
   All others

The original principal investigator was Eleanor F. Helin, with co-investigators Steven H. Pravdo and David L. Rabinowitz. [1]

NEAT has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Air Force to use a GEODSS telescope located on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. GEODSS stands for Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance and these wide field Air Force telescopes were designed to optically observe Earth orbital spacecraft. The NEAT team designed a CCD camera and computer system for the GEODSS telescope. The CCD camera format is 4096 × 4096 pixels and the field of view is 1.2° × 1.6°.

Beginning in April 2001, the Samuel Oschin telescope (1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) aperture Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory) was also put into service to discover and track near-Earth objects. This telescope is equipped with a camera containing 112 CCDs each 2400 × 600. This is the telescope that produced the images leading to the discovery of 50000 Quaoar in 2002, and 90377 Sedna in 2003 (published 2004) and the dwarf planet Eris.

In addition to discovering thousands of asteroids, NEAT is also credited with the co-discovery (recovery) of periodic comet 54P/de Vico-Swift-NEAT and of the high proper motion Teegarden's star. The C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) comet was discovered on August 24, 2001 by NEAT. [4]

An asteroid was named in its honour, 64070 NEAT, in early 2005. [5]

Discoveries

Minor planets discovered: 40,975 [3]
see List of minor planets § Main index

1996 PW was discovered on 1996 August 9 by a NEAT automated search camera on Haleakalā, Hawaii. [6] It was the first object that was not an active comet discovered on an orbit typical of a long-period comets. [6] This raised the possibility it was an extinct comet or a usual asteroid. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research American astronomical survey for identifying and tracking near-Earth objects

The Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project is a collaboration of the United States Air Force, NASA, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory for the systematic detection and tracking of near-Earth objects. LINEAR was responsible for the majority of asteroid discoveries from 1998 until it was overtaken by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2005. As of 15 September 2011, LINEAR had detected 231,082 new small Solar System bodies, of which at least 2,423 were near-Earth asteroids and 279 were comets. The instruments used by the LINEAR program are located at Lincoln Laboratory's Experimental Test Site (ETS) on the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) near Socorro, New Mexico.

Charles T. Kowal American astronomer

Charles Thomas Kowal was an American astronomer known for his observations and discoveries in the Solar System. As a staff astronomer at Caltech's Mount Wilson and Palomar Mountain observatories between 1961 and 1984, he found the first of a new class of Solar System objects, the centaurs, discovered two moons of the planet Jupiter, and discovered or co-discovered a number of asteroids, comets and supernovae. He was awarded the James Craig Watson Medal for his contributions to astronomy in 1979.

Eleanor F. Helin American astronomer

Eleanor Francis "Glo" Helin was an American astronomer. She was principal investigator of the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search 1993–2008 research project

Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) was a project designed to discover asteroids and comets that orbit near the Earth. The project, funded by NASA, was directed by astronomer Ted Bowell of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The LONEOS project began in 1993 and ran until the end of February 2008.

Spacewatch Astronomical survey that specializes in the study of minor planets

The Spacewatch project is an astronomical survey that specializes in the study of minor planets, including various types of asteroids and comets at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, in the United States.

Catalina Sky Survey Project to discover comets, asteroids, and Near-Earth objects

Catalina Sky Survey is an astronomical survey to discover comets and asteroids. It is conducted at the Steward Observatory's Catalina Station, located near Tucson, Arizona, in the United States.

Roy A. Tucker (born 1951 in Jackson, Mississippi) is an American astronomer best known for the co-discovery of near-Earth asteroid 99942 Apophis (formerly known as 2004 MN4) along with David J. Tholen and Fabrizio Bernardi of the University of Hawaii. He is a prolific discoverer of minor planets, credited by the Minor Planet Center with the discovery of 702 numbered minor planets between 1996 and 2010. He has also discovered two comets: 328P/LONEOS–Tucker and C/2004 Q1, a Jupiter-family and near-parabolic comet, respectively.

Samuel Oschin telescope

The Samuel Oschin telescope, also called the Oschin Schmidt, is a 48-inch-aperture (1.22 m) Schmidt camera at the Palomar Observatory in northern San Diego County, California. It consists of a 49.75-inch Schmidt corrector plate and a 72-inch (f/2.5) mirror. The instrument is strictly a camera; there is no provision for an eyepiece to look through it. It originally used 10- and 14-inch glass photographic plates. Since the focal plane is curved, these plates had to be preformed in a special jig before being loaded into the camera.

Pan-STARRS Multi-telescope astronomical survey

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System located at Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii, US, consists of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility that is surveying the sky for moving or variable objects on a continual basis, and also producing accurate astrometry and photometry of already-detected objects. In January 2019 the second Pan-STARRS data release was announced. At 1.6 petabytes, it is the largest volume of astronomical data ever released.

James Whitney Young is an American astronomer who worked in the field of asteroid research. After nearly 47 years with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at their Table Mountain Facility, Young retired July 16, 2009.

Bisei Spaceguard Center

The Bisei Spaceguard Center (BSGC) is an astronomical observatory located at Bisei-chō, Okayama, Japan. The facility was constructed during 1999–2000, where it since conducts the Bisei Asteroid Tracking Telescope for Rapid Survey or BATTeRS (バッターズ), an astronomical survey that solely tracks asteroids and space debris. BATTeRS has discovered numerous minor planets and the periodic, Halley-type comet and near-Earth object C/2001 W2 (BATTERS).

51827 Laurelclark, provisional designation 2001 OH38, is a background asteroid from the outer regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 6 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 20 July 2001, by astronomers of the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking program at Palomar Observatory in California, United States. The asteroid was named for astronaut Laurel Clark, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

6344 P-L is an unnumbered, sub-kilometer asteroid and suspected dormant comet, classified as near-Earth object and potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group that was first observed on 24 September 1960, by astronomers and asteroid searchers Tom Gehrels, Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld, and Cornelis Johannes van Houten during the Palomar–Leiden survey at Palomar Observatory.

2054 Gawain, provisional designation 4097 P-L, is a dark and elongated asteroid from the outer regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 19 kilometers in diameter. Discovered during the Palomar–Leiden survey at Palomar Observatory in 1960, the asteroid was later named after Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table in the Arthurian legend.

19763 Klimesh, provisional designation 2000 MC, is a stony Phocaea asteroid and slow rotator from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 7 kilometers in diameter. Discovered by NEAT at Haleakala Observatory in 2000, the asteroid was named for NEAT's software specialist Matthew Klimesh.

Amy Mainzer American astronomer

Amy Mainzer is an American astronomer, specializing in astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy. She is the Deputy Project Scientist for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and the Principal Investigator for the NEOWISE project to study minor planets and the Near Earth Object Surveyor space telescope mission.

Fabrizio Bernardi is an Italian astronomer and discoverer of minor planets and comets, best known for the co-discovery of the near-Earth and potentially hazardous asteroid 99942 Apophis.

(471240) 2011 BT15, provisional designation 2011 BT15, is a stony, sub-kilometer sized asteroid and fast rotator, classified as a near-Earth object and potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group. It had been one of the objects with the highest impact threat on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale.

1996 PW

1996 PW is an exceptionally eccentric trans-Neptunian object and damocloid on an orbit typical of long-period comets but one that showed no sign of cometary activity around the time it was discovered. The unusual object measures approximately 10 kilometers in diameter and has a rotation period of 35.4 hours and likely an elongated shape.

References

  1. 1 2 "Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)". Near Earth Object Program. NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 14 January 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  2. Bauer, J. M.; Lawrence, K. J.; Buratti, B. J.; Bambery, R. J.; Lowry, S. C.; Meech, K. J.; et al. (December 2007). "Photometry of Small Outer Solar System Bodies with the NEAT Database" (PDF). Asteroids. 1405: 8086. Bibcode:2008LPICo1405.8086B . Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  4. "C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NASA . Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  5. "64070 NEAT (2001 SS272)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NASA. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  6. 1 2 Weissman, P. R. & Levison, H. F. (1997). Origin and evolution of the unusual object 1996 PW: Asteroids from the Oort cloud?. The Astrophysical Journal, 488, L133–L136
  7. "New Object Moves like a Comet but Looks like an Asteroid". Pasadena, California: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 22 August 1996. Retrieved 22 September 2017.