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Near Earth Asteroid Tracking

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Abbreviation
  
NEAT

Extinction
  
April 2007 (2007-04)

Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking

Predecessor
  
Palomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey

Successor
  
Near Earth Object Program

Formation
  
December 1995 (1995-12)

Founded at
  
Haleakalā Observatory, Maui, Hawaii

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.

Contents

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

History

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

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.

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

Discoveries

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

References

Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking Wikipedia