- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- The purpose of Spacewatch is to explore the various populations of small objects within the solar system. Spacewatch provides data for studies of comets and asteroids, finds potential targets for space missions, and provides information on the environmental problem of possible impacts. Moving objects are discovered by scanning the sky with charge-coupled devices (CCDs) on the 0.9-meter Spacewatch Telescope of the University of Arizona on Kitt Peak. Each Spacewatch scan consists of three drift scan passes over an area of sky using a CCD filtered to a bandpass of 0.5-1.0 microns (approximately V+R+I with peak sensitivity at 0.7 micron). The effective exposure time for each pass is 143 seconds multiplied by the secant of the declination. We have been finding some 30,000 new asteroids per year and applying their statistics to the study of the collisional history of the solar system. As of the end of the observing run of Nov. 1997, Spacewatch had found a total of 153 Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and 8 new comets since the project began in the 1980s, and had recovered one lost comet. The total number of NEAs found by Spacewatch big enough to be hazardous if they were to impact the Earth is 36. Spacewatch is also efficient in recovery of known comets and has detected and reported positions for more than 137,000 asteroids, mostly new ones in the main belt, including more than 16,000 asteroids designated by the Minor Planet Center (MPC).
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19980169287.
- No Copyright.
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