Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
NEAT is an autonomous celestial observatory developed by the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration to study asteroids and comets. The NEAT principal
investigator is Dr. Eleanor F. Helin, with co-investigators Dr. Steven H.
Pravdo, also the project manager, and Dr. David Rabinowitz (now of Yale
University). Discoveries are reported to the Minor Planet Center, whose
WWW site contains new objects which require confirmation by observers.
The NEAT system (as described below) is now mounted on the Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS)
1.2-m telescope. NEAT is a cooperative effort between the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration/Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the United States Air Force. It is designed to
complete a comprehensive search of the sky for near-Earth asteroids and comets. Further
description and images of NEAT and the 1.2-m are shown here. Plans call for NEAT to begin
observing 18 nights each month starting in February 2000.
NEAT was first located at the USAF/Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance
(GEODSS) site on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. JPL designed, fabricated, and installed the NEAT
camera and computer system on a 1-m GEODSS telescope. The USAF through its contractor, PRC,
Inc., operates NEAT. NEAT began observing in December 1995 and observed for 12 nights each
month centered near the new moon through December 1996. Beginning in January 1997 NEAT
observed for 6 nights each month starting 6 nights prior to the new moon. NEAT last observations on
GEODSS were in February 1999.
The University of Hawaii provides a view of the weather at the NEAT site.
Photo and Document Gallery
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