Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking

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Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking
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
David L. Rabinowitz, Ken Lawrence and Michael Hicks
Main organ
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Parent organization
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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]


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


Number of NEOs detected by various projects:
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All others Neo-chart.png
Number of NEOs detected by various projects:
   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]


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

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Charles T. Kowal American astronomer

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Eleanor F. Helin American astronomer

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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.

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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.

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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.


  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.