[FPSPACE] Fw: IfA: Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope Begins Science Mission
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Wed Jun 16 20:27:57 EDT 2010
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From: "AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg" <rick.fienberg at aas.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 00:18:22
To: <Rick.Fienberg at aas.org>
Subject: IfA: Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope Begins Science Mission
THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT
MANOA'S INSTITUTE FOR ASTRONOMY IN HONOLULU AND IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR
INFORMATION. (FORWARDING DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE AMERICAN
ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY.) Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer:
rick.fienberg at aas.org, +1 202-328-2010 x116.
June 16, 2010
Mrs. Karen Rehbock
rehbock at ifa.hawaii.edu
Dr. Kenneth Chambers
chambers at ifa.hawaii.edu
PAN-STARRS 1 TELESCOPE BEGINS SCIENCE MISSION
The world became a slightly safer place on May 13, when the Pan-STARRS
1 (PS1) telescope in Hawaii started surveying the sky for killer
This 1.8 meter (60-inch) diameter telescope on Haleakala is designed
to automatically search the skies for objects that either move or
change their brightness from night to night. It contains the world's
largest digital camera, with 1,400 megapixels.
"Although modest in size, this telescope is on the cutting edge of
technology," said Dr. Nick Kaiser, head of the Pan-STARRS project. "It
can image a patch of sky about 40 times the area of the full moon,
much larger than any similar-sized telescope on Earth or in space."
Designed and built by astronomers and engineers of the Pan-STARRS
project at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, PS1 has now been turned
over to the PS1 Science Consortium, a group of ten institutions,
including UH Manoa, in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and
Taiwan that are funding the PS1 Science Mission.
The giant digital camera will take over 500 exposures each night and
send about four terabytes of data (equivalent to what 1,000 DVDs can
hold) to the Maui High Performance Computing Center for analysis.
Computers will rapidly compare each exposure with corresponding ones
taken either a few minutes or a few days earlier to find objects that
have moved or whose brightness has changed.
In the next three years, PS1 is expected to discover about 100,000
asteroids and to determine if any of them are on a collision course
with Earth. It will catalog five billion stars and 500 million
galaxies. PS1 will also be used to compile the most comprehensive
digital map of the 75 percent of the universe visible from Hawaii.
UH astronomers will use the data to search for killer asteroids, to
find brown dwarfs and distant quasars, to watch supernova explosions
in distant galaxies and to test their latest theories concerning dark
matter and dark energy.
PS1 is the experimental prototype for the larger PS4 telescope, which
will have four times the power of PS1 and is planned for Mauna Kea.
# # #
Photo (3.9 MB):
The PS1 Observatory on Haleakala, Maui just before sunrise. Mauna Kea
on the island of Hawaii is in the background. Visible through the dome
shutter are the calibration screen, the secondary mirror baffle, the
truss and the primary mirror covers. The spikes on the outside of the
dome are lightning rods.
The PS1 surveys have been made possible through contributions of the
PS1 Science Consortium: the University of Hawaii Institute for
Astronomy; the Pan-STARRS Project Office; the Max-Planck Society and
its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy,
Heidelberg, Germany and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial
Physics, Garching, Germany; the Johns Hopkins University; the
University of Durham; the University of Edinburgh; the Queen's
University Belfast; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics;
the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc.; and the
National Central University of Taiwan. Funding for Pan-STARRS (short
for Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System) has been
provided by the U.S. Air Force.
Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of
Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars,
planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in
astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and
management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.
Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of
Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole
public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of
undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community
programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and
research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000
students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.
More information about the UH role in the PS1 Science Mission:
PS1 Science Consortium website:
Other PS1 Consortium press releases:
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