NEAT ON THE MSSS 1.2-M TELESCOPE

NEAT began taking sky data on the Maui Space Surveillance Site's (MSSS) 1.2-m telescope in February 2000, and resumed monthly operations. NEAT is contributing to the NASA 10-year goal to discover more than 90% of the Near-Earth asteroids larger than 1-km in diameter. It is the largest aperture telescope with a regular Near-Earth object detection program.

FIRST LIGHT ON MSSS 1.2-M

NEAT achieved first light on the Maui Space Surveillance System 1.2-m telescope on 8 February 2000. Below are parts of three NEAT/MSSS images from that night. Asteroid tracking operations are scheduled to begin later in February.

Whirlpool Galaxy

Crab Nebula

Orion Nebula



BACKGROUND

The United States Air Force Space Command provided funding to modify the MSSS 1.2-m telescope, giving it a much larger field of view, suitable for NEAT's asteroid survey. This modification was carried out by a team from Air Force Research Laboratory and Boeing. In January 2000 the JPL NEAT camera was first integrated into this new optical assembly-headring and focal-reducer, which in turn was mounted on the telescope. Balancing, alignment, cooling, and electrical tests were successfully completed from 17-19 January. (First starlight however was delayed by bad weather.)

Following is a photo gallery of the development of the NEAT system and modified MSSS 1.2-m telescope.

January 2000 (photos provided by the Boeing team at MSSS)

Telescope 1

Telescope 2

Telescope 3

Headring 1

Headring 2

November 1999

MSSS Site

NEAT Camera 1

NEAT Camera 2

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