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Near Earth Object Program
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NEO Basics Search Programs Discovery Statistics Accessible NEAs News Frequently Asked Questions
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NEAR-EARTH ASTEROID TRACKING (NEAT)
The NEAT discovery team at the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory had a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Air Force to use a GEODSS telescope to discovery near-Earth Objects. The NEAT team designed a CCD camera and computer system for the GEODSS telescope located on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. The CCD camera format is 4096 x 4096 pixels and the field of view is 1.2 x 1.6 degrees. When used for NEO discovery efforts, Air Force contractor personnel operated the telescope and the data was routed directly to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for analyses. The NEAT system began observations in December 1995 and observed for 12 nights each month centered on the new moon through December 1996. Beginning in January 1997, the number of observing nights was reduced to the six nights each month preceding the new moon because of increased Air Force operational requirements upon the facility. In February 2000, NEAT operations were transferred from the one-meter GEODSS telescope to the nearby AMOS 1.2-meter telescope. While the field of view of the AMOS 1.2-meter telescope is about that of the 1-meter GEODSS telescope, the AMOS telescope was available for more nights per month than was the GEODSS telescope.

Beginning in April 2001, a 1.2 meter aperture Schmidt telescope at Palomar mountain (southern California) was also put into service to discover and track near-Earth objects. This telescope was equipped with three cameras, each of which has its own 4096x4096 CCD array.

As part of the NEAT effort, a SkyMorph system was developed whereby searches can be made for pre-discovery images of newly discovered objects. These pre-discovery images can then immediately improve the initial orbits of newly discovered NEOs and ensure that these objects will not be lost. Searches within the SkyMorph system can be made upon the archive of approximately 40,000 CCD images made by the NEAT system or within either the original or second generation Digitized Sky Surveys (DSS and DSS2).

The NEAT program was discontinued in 2007.

Raymond Bambery: Principal Investigator
Steven H. Pravdo: Co-Investigator and Project Manager
David L. Rabinowitz, Ken Lawrence and Michael Hicks: Co-Investigators

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