Join the search for near-Earth objects at ‘Imiloa

  • Courtesy image Richard Wainscoat from the University of Hawaii at Manoa will discuss the search for near-Earth objects during a presentation Friday in ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s planetarium.

Join Richard Wainscoat from the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a presentation about the “Search for Near-Earth Objects” at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, in ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s planetarium. Wainscoat will explain surveys done, techniques used and discoveries made with the Pan-STARRS Telescopes on Haleakala, including potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.

Earth continues to be hit by objects such as asteroids and comets. Fortunately, impacts by large objects are rare.

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Congress 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 on Maui are 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 characterize them. While searching for near-Earth objects, Pan-STARRS discovered the first interstellar object, ‘Oumuamua, and made numerous other important discoveries.

During this presentation, audiences will learn about 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.

Wainscoat is an astronomer at UH-Manoa. He grew up in Australia and received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the Australian National University. After working in California at the NASA Ames Research Center for threee years, he moved to Hawaii. He spends most of his time searching for near-Earth objects with the Pan-STARRS telescopes.

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‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park.

For more information, visit www.ImiloaHawaii.org or call 932-8901.

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