‘Imiloa Astronomy Center: The Search for Near-Earth Objects

August 7, 2019, 9:37 AM HST (Updated August 7, 2019, 9:37 AM)
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Objects near Earth-Aug16, 2019, MKS talk. PC: NASA, JOL-Caltech

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will present The Search for Near-Earth Objects on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m.

Join Dr. Richard Wainscoat from Pan-STARRS Telescopes will explain surveys done, techniques used and discoveries made.

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

Congress has 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.

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The two Pan-STARRS telescopes on Haleakalā on Maui are a 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 to characterize them.

Wainscoat will share observation survey used for this research.

While searching for Near-Earth Objects, Pan-STARRS1 discovered the first interstellar object, `Oumuamua; Pan-STARRS has made numerous other important discoveries.

Dr. Richard Wainscoat recognizes that dark skies are essential for astronomy and has worked hard to preserve the dark night sky over Hawai‘i’s observatories.

Some of the techniques that could be used to deflect a possible future Earth impact will also be explained.

Wainscoat is an astronomer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 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 3 years, he moved to Hawai‘i. He now leads the search for Near-Earth Objects with the Pan-STARRS telescopes. He recognizes that dark skies are essential for astronomy and has worked hard to preserve the dark night sky over Hawai‘i’s observatories.

‘Imiloa is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off of Komohana and Nowelo Streets at the UH Hilo Science and Technology Park.

For more information, visit www.ImiloaHawaii.org or call 808-932-8901.

About ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

Sharing Hawai‘i’s legacy of exploration, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a worldclass center for informal science education located on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. Its centerpiece is a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall, showcasing science and Hawaiian culture as parallel journeys of human exploration guided by the light of the stars. The visitor experience is amplified with presentations using ‘Imiloa’s full dome planetarium and 9 acres of native landscape gardens. The center welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year, including 12,000+ schoolchildren on guided school field trips
and other educational programs.

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