DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 59. Asteroid Surveys and Physical Studies I
Oral, Chairs: M. Kelley, A. Rivkin, Saturday, December 1, 2001, 2:30-4:10pm, Regency E

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[59.01] Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking at Palomar and Maui

S. H. Pravdo, E. F. Helin, M. Hicks, K. Lawrence, (JPL/Caltech)

NEAT is comprised of two autonomous observing systems, one at the Maui Space Surveillance Site, NEAT/MSSS, and the other at Palomar Observatory, NEAT/Palomar. At both sites the NEAT cameras use 1.2-m (48") telescopes to find Near-Earth objects (NEOs), both Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and comets. The primary goal of NEAT is to make significant contributions to the NASA goal of discovering at least 90% of the NEAs larger than 1 km by 2008. NEAT/MSSS has been operating since March 2000. NEAT/Palomar had first light in April 2001 and has already had numerous discoveries. For example, NEAT discovered 1 planetoid -a Centaur, 4 comets, 1 high-eccentricity Mars-approacher, and 19 Near-Earth asteroids -- 10 Amors and 9 Apollos, including 3 larger than 1 km and 5 Potentially Hazardous asteroids -- in August 2001. The NEAT systems complement each other by performing in turn discoveries and confirmations (follow-ups). We will discuss the latest estimates of the number of large NEAs and whether the searches are likely to reach the 2008 goal. In addition to NEAs, NEAT has discovered 13 comets in 2001, several of whose motions masqueraded as main-belt asteroids in observations of a single night. We also discuss the likelihood that many more such comets are waiting to be discovered.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: spravdo@jpl.nasa.gov

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