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.

Asteroid and Comet FAQs


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.

Technical Description

Observing System



NEAT Names

Photo and Document Gallery



NEAT NASA Press Release April 24, 1996

New York Times Article May 14, 1996

1996 PW NASA Press Release August 22, 1996

1997 New Year Discoveries NASA Press Release Janunary 29, 1997

1998 New Neat Computer System Press Release May 20

1998 Helin Named to Women in Technology Hall of Fame - June 24

1998 Two New Phas Discovered with Neat- Jpl Press Release- August 5

1998 Asteroid Named for Journalist John Holliman

1999 Nasa's Asteroid Hunters Net a Surprise Catch - March 11

1999 Asteroid Hunters Bring Oldie-but-goodie Into New Age- June 21

2000 Asteroid Population Count Slashed- Nature January 13

Back to NEAT HomePage