|see § List of discovered minor planets|
The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) consists of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility that is surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis, including accurate astrometry and photometry of already detected objects. By detecting differences from previous observations of the same areas of the sky, it is expected to discover a very large number of new asteroids, comets, variable stars and other celestial objects. Its primary mission is to detect near-Earth objects that threaten impact events and is expected to create a database of all objects visible from Hawaii (three-quarters of the entire sky) down to apparent magnitude 24. Pan-STARRS is funded in large part by the United States Air Force through their Research Labs. Pan-STARRS NEO survey searches all the sky north of declination −47.5.
The first Pan-STARRS telescope (PS1) is located at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii, and went online on December 6, 2008, under the administration of the University of Hawaii. PS1 began full-time science observations on May 13, 2010, and the PS1 Science Mission is underway, with operations funded by the PS1 Science Consortium, PS1SC, a consortium including the Max Planck Society in Germany, National Central University in Taiwan, Edinburgh, Durham and Queen's Belfast Universities in the UK, and Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities in the United States and the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Consortium observations for the all sky (as visible from Hawaii) survey were completed in April 2014.
The Pan-STARRS Project is a collaboration between the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Maui High Performance Computing Center and Science Applications International Corporation. Telescope construction is funded by the U.S. Air Force. Having completed PS1, the Pan-STARRS Project is now focusing on building PS2, for which first light was achieved in 2013, with full science operations scheduled for 2014 and then the full array of four telescopes, sometimes called PS4. Completing the array of four telescopes is estimated at a total cost of US$100 million for the entire array.
The initial telescope, PS1, saw first light using a low-resolution camera in June 2006. The telescope has a 3° field of view, which is extremely large for telescopes of this size, and is equipped with the largest digital camera ever built, recording almost 1.4 billion pixels per image. The focal plane has 60 separately mounted close packed CCDs arranged in an 8 × 8 array. The corner positions are not populated, because the optics do not illuminate the corners. Each CCD device, called an Orthogonal Transfer Array (OTA), has 4800 × 4800 pixels, separated into 64 cells, each of 600 × 600 pixels. This gigapixel camera or 'GPC' saw first light on August 22, 2007, imaging the Andromeda Galaxy.
After initial technical difficulties that were later mostly solved, PS1 began full operation on May 13, 2010. Nick Kaiser, principal investigator of the Pan-STARRS project, summed it up saying “PS1 has been taking science-quality data for six months, but now we are doing it dusk-to-dawn every night.” (quote: June 15, 2010). The PS1 images however remain slightly less sharp than initially planned, which significantly affects some scientific uses of the data.
Each image requires about 2 gigabytes of storage and exposure times will be 30 to 60 seconds (good enough to record objects down to apparent magnitude 22), with an additional minute or so used for computer processing. Since images will be taken on a continuous basis, it is expected that 10 Terabytes of data will be acquired by PS4 every night. Comparing against a database of known unvarying objects compiled from earlier observations will yield objects of interest: anything that has changed brightness and/or position for any reason. As of June 30/10 University of Hawaii in Honolulu received an $8.4 million contract modification under the PanSTARRS multi-year program to develop and deploy a telescope data management system for the project. At this time, all funds have been committed (FA9451-06-2-0338; P00008)
The very large field of view of the telescope and the short exposure times enable approximately 6000 square degrees of sky to be imaged every night. The entire sky is 4π steradians, or 4π × (180/π)² ≈ 41,253.0 square degrees, of which about 30,000 square degrees are visible from Hawaii, which means that the entire sky can be imaged in a period of 40 hours (or about 10 hours per night on four days). Given the need to avoid times when the Moon is bright, this means that an area equivalent to the entire sky will be surveyed four times a month, which is entirely unprecedented. By the end of its initial three-year mission in April 2014, PS1 had imaged the sky 12 times in each of 5 filters (g,r,i,z,y).
Systematically surveying the entire sky on a continuous basis is an unprecedented project and is expected to produce a dramatically larger number of discoveries of various types of celestial objects. For instance, the current leading asteroid discovery survey, the Mount Lemmon Survey, reaches an apparent magnitude of 21.5 V and concentrates its searches mostly near the ecliptic; Pan-STARRS will go 3 magnitudes fainter and cover the entire sky visible from Hawaii. The ongoing survey will also complement the efforts to map the infrared sky by the NASA WISE orbital telescope, with the results of one survey complementing and extending the other.
According to Defense Industry Daily significant limitations were put on the PS1 survey to avoid recording sensitive objects. Streak detection software (known as "Magic") was used to censor pixels containing information about satellites in the image. Early versions of this software were immature, leaving a filling factor of 68% of the full field of view (which figure includes gaps between the detectors), but by March 2010 this had improved to 76%, a small reduction from the approximately 80% available. At the end of 2011, the USAF completely eliminated the masking requirement (for all images, past and future). Thus, with the exception of a few non-functioning OTA cells, the entire field of view can be used.
In addition to the large number of expected discoveries in the asteroid belt, Pan-STARRS is expected to detect at least 100,000 Jupiter trojans (compared to 2900 known as of end-2008); at least 20,000 Kuiper belt objects (compared to 800 known as of mid-2005); thousands of trojan asteroids of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (currently eight Neptune trojans are known, none for Saturn, and one for Uranus); and large numbers of centaurs and comets.
Apart from drastically adding to the number of known Solar System objects, Pan-STARRS will remove or mitigate the observational bias inherent in many current surveys. For instance, among currently known objects there is a bias favoring low orbital inclination, and thus an object such as Makemake escaped detection until recently despite its bright apparent magnitude of 17, which is not much fainter than Pluto. Also, among currently known comets, there is a bias favoring those with short perihelion distances. Reducing the effects of this observational bias will enable a more complete picture of Solar System dynamics. For instance, it is expected that the number of Jupiter trojans larger than 1 km may in fact roughly match the number of asteroid-belt objects, although the currently known population of the latter is several orders of magnitude larger. Pan-STARRS data will elegantly complement the WISE (infrared) survey. WISE infrared images will permit an estimate of size for asteroids and trojan objects tracked over longer periods of time by Pan-STARRS.
Pan-STARRS may detect interstellar objects passing through the Solar System. During the formation of a planetary system, it is thought that a very large number of objects are ejected due to gravitational interactions with planets (as many as 1013 such objects in the case of the Solar System). Objects ejected from planetary systems of other stars might plausibly be throughout the Milky Way and some may pass through the Solar System.
Pan-STARRS may detect collisions involving small asteroids. These are quite rare and none have yet been observed, but with the drastically larger number of asteroids that will be discovered it is expected from statistical considerations that some collision events may be observed.
Beyond the Solar System
It is expected that Pan-STARRS will discover an extremely large number of variable stars, including such stars in other nearby galaxies; in fact, this may lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown dwarf galaxies. In discovering a large number of Cepheid variables and eclipsing binary stars, it will help determine distances to nearby galaxies with greater precision. It is expected to discover a large number of Type Ia supernovae in other galaxies, which are important in studying the effects of dark energy, and also optical afterglows of gamma ray bursts.
Because very young stars (such as T Tauri stars) are usually variable, Pan-STARRS should discover a large number of these and improve our understanding of them. It is also expected that Pan-STARRS may discover a large number of extrasolar planets by observing their transits across their parent stars, as well as gravitational microlensing events.
Pan-STARRS will also measure proper motion and parallax and should thereby discover a large number of brown dwarfs and white dwarfs and other nearby faint objects, and it should be able to conduct a complete census of all stars within 100 parsecs of the Sun. Prior proper motion and parallax surveys often did not detect faint objects such as the recently discovered Teegarden's star, which are too faint for projects such as Hipparcos.
Also, by identifying stars with large parallax but very small proper motion for follow-up radial velocity measurements, Pan-STARRS may even be able to permit the detection of hypothetical Nemesis-type objects if these actually exist.
- 2010 ST3 — this NEA, which at the time of discovery had a very slight possibility of colliding with Earth in 2098, was discovered by Pan-STARRS on 16 September 2010. This is the first NEA to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS program. The object is 30–65 meters across, similar to the Tunguska impactor that hit Russia in 1908. It passed within about 6 million kilometers of Earth in mid-October 2010.
- 2012 GX17 — first reported on 14 April 2012, this faint ~22nd-magnitude object is a promising Neptune L5 trojan candidate.
- 2013 ND15 — first reported on 13 July 2013, this object is probably the first known Venus L4 trojan.
- C/2011 L4 — astronomers at the University of Hawaii using the Pan-STARRS Telescope discovered comet C/2011 L4 in June 2011. At the time of discovery it was about 1.2 billion kilometers from the Sun, placing it beyond the orbit of Jupiter. The comet became visible to the naked eye when it was near perihelion in March 2013. It most likely originated in the Oort cloud, a cloud of comet-like objects located in the distant outer Solar System. It was probably gravitationally disturbed by a distant passing star, sending it on a long journey toward the Sun.
- PS1-10afx — a unique hydrogen-deﬁcient superluminous supernova (SLSN) at redshift z = 1.388. Discovered first in MDS imaging on 31.35 August 2010. The overluminosity was later found to be the result of gravitational lensing.
- PS1-10jh — the tidal disruption of a star by a supermassive black hole.
- P/2010 T2 — first reported on 16 October 2010, this faint ~20th-magnitude object is the first comet to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS program. Even at perihelion in the summer of 2011 at 3.73 AU it will only be magnitude 19.5. It has an orbital period of 13.2 years and is a member of the short-period Jupiter family of comets.
- P/2012 B1 — a comet and Pan-STARRS discovery
- P/2012 T1 — a Pan-STARRS discovery, is one of the very few known main-belt comets.
- P/2013 R3 — a Pan-STARRS discovery on 15 September 2013, disintegration observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
- C/2014 S3 — a rocky comet (PANSTARRS).
- 2014 YX49 — a Trojan of Uranus, the second one ever announced.
- SN 2008id — (type Ia supernova), confirmed by Keck observatory via redshift.
- (469219) 2016 HO3 — possibly the most stable quasi-satellite of Earth.
- 2016 UR36, an NEO - seen 5 days out.
List of discovered minor planets
|(249520) 2010 CG181||14 February 2010||list|
|(279397) 2010 DN77||16 February 2010||list|
|(296930) 2010 CB181||13 February 2010||list|
|(296945) 2010 DD78||16 February 2010||list|
|(301622) 2010 DZ77||16 February 2010||list|
|(301623) 2010 DA78||16 February 2010||list|
|(321673) 2010 CO182||14 February 2010||list|
|(343412) 2010 CC181||13 February 2010||list|
|(343413) 2010 CX181||14 February 2010||list|
|(343438) 2010 DS77||16 February 2010||list|
|(343439) 2010 DW77||16 February 2010||list|
|(343440) 2010 DY77||16 February 2010||list|
|(343441) 2010 DC78||16 February 2010||list|
|(344003) 2011 QW53||9 June 2011||list|
|(346998) 2010 CR182||15 February 2010||list|
|(346999) 2010 CQ183||15 February 2010||list|
|(347016) 2010 DR77||16 February 2010||list|
|(347017) 2010 DB78||16 February 2010||list|
|(347211) 2011 HF36||3 April 2011||list|
|(349958) 2010 CK182||14 February 2010||list|
|(353409) 2011 QW3||19 August 2011||list|
|(353429) 2011 QP46||8 June 2011||list|
|(353682) 2011 UJ286||11 June 2011||list|
|(353742) 2011 YE28||24 November 2011||list|
|(353745) 2011 YE47||23 October 2011||list|
|(353903) 2012 XN58||30 August 2011||list|
|(357243) 2002 OQ37||18 October 2011||list|
|(359391) 2010 GU171||24 August 2011||list|
|(359822) 2011 UW298||24 September 2011||list|
|(360037) 2013 AO41||24 September 2011||list|
|(362631) 2011 SL132||5 July 2011||list|
|(362925) 2012 DX30||6 January 2012||list|
|(365833) 2011 TM4||25 September 2011||list|
|(365895) 2011 WK13||23 October 2011||list|
|(367871) 2011 DL24||30 January 2011||list|
|(367960) 2012 DR75||19 January 2012||list|
|(368000) 2012 FK44||4 December 2011||list|
|(369607) 2011 CT56||30 January 2011||list|
|(369819) 2012 HD60||30 January 2011||list|
|(376402) 2012 FZ53||27 February 2012||list|
|(376421) 2012 GO31||30 January 2011||list|
|(376442) 2012 HM40||6 January 2012||list|
|(376468) 2012 JU17||30 January 2011||list|
|(376691) 2013 QR68||30 January 2011||list|
|(379466) 2010 CJ183||15 February 2010||list|
|(379467) 2010 CV183||15 February 2010||list|
|(381938) 2010 CY181||14 February 2010||list|
|(381939) 2010 CD182||14 February 2010||list|
|(382150) 2011 QN3||28 July 2011||list|
|(382248) 2012 TY4||5 October 2012||list|
|(382259) 2012 TR79||20 August 2011||list|
|(382264) 2012 TO124||29 August 2011||list|
|(382337) 2013 TC33||4 February 2011||list|
|(382373) 2013 TY103||30 January 2011||list|
|(384515) 2010 CY180||13 February 2010||list|
|(384516) 2010 CP182||14 February 2010||list|
|(384537) 2010 DU77||16 February 2010||list|
|(389447) 2010 CL181||14 February 2010||list|
|(389448) 2010 CJ182||14 February 2010||list|
|(392306) 2010 CD183||15 February 2010||list|
|(398142) 2010 CF183||15 February 2010||list|
|(400671) 2009 MR9||28 June 2009||list|
|(404584) 2013 LG11||21 January 2012||list|
|(407653) 2011 QF3||20 August 2011||list|
|(419466) 2010 CO181||14 February 2010||list|
|(420286) 2011 RZ||5 September 2011||list|
|(420302) 2011 XZ1||6 December 2011||list|
|(420456) 2012 DE72||20 February 2012||list|
|(420591) 2012 HF31||24 April 2012||list|
|(420728) 2012 RO2||26 July 2011||list|
|(421001) 2013 PH45||4 February 2011||list|
|(421018) 2013 PM59||20 June 2013||list|
|(421135) 2013 RA7||15 August 2013||list|
|(421136) 2013 RQ7||15 August 2013||list|
|(425755) 2011 CP4||2 February 2011||list|
|(429746) 2011 SA16||18 September 2011||list|
|(433303) 2013 NX||2 July 2013||list|
|(436281) 2010 CH181||14 February 2010||list|
|(436553) 2011 GV86||3 April 2011||list|
|(436568) 2011 HB53||29 April 2011||list|
|(436643) 2011 QS23||19 August 2011||list|
|(436663) 2011 SF33||9 June 2011||list|
|(436671) 2011 SV71||24 September 2011||list|
|(436724) 2011 UW158||25 October 2011||list|
|(436761) 2012 DN||16 February 2012||list|
|(437118) 2012 UD134||28 July 2011||list|
|(437316) 2013 OS3||16 July 2013||list|
|(437360) 2013 TV158||12 August 2013||list|
|(439313) 2012 VE82||12 November 2012||list|
|(441893) 2010 CC182||14 February 2010||list|
|(442605) 2012 HY33||27 April 2012||list|
|(445974) 2013 BJ18||16 January 2013||list|
|(448446) 2010 CL183||15 February 2010||list|
|(448628) 2010 VF1||2 November 2010||list|
|(448724) 2011 BB45||30 January 2011||list|
|(448818) 2011 UU20||19 October 2011||list|
|(451297) 2010 TK54||8 October 2010||list|
|(454177) 2013 GJ35||23 August 2011||list|
|(458732) 2011 MD5||30 June 2011||list|
|(459451) 2012 WG32||24 November 2012||list|
|(459458) 2012 XR134||10 December 2012||list|
|(459870) 2014 AT28||26 November 2013||list|
|(463257) 2012 GG1||2 April 2012||list|
|(463360) 2012 TU||4 October 2012||list|
|(463370) 2012 XW45||21 October 2012||list|
|(463387) 2013 CT82||8 February 2013||list|
|(463389) 2013 ED5||3 August 2011||list|
|(463390) 2013 EX23||8 March 2013||list|
|(463559) 2013 RU59||10 September 2013||list|
|(463724) 2014 QR292||21 January 2012||list|
|(463736) 2014 QQ368||25 August 2014||list|
|(467917) 2011 OP24||28 July 2011||list|
|(468741) 2010 VM1||2 November 2010||list|
|(468813) 2012 OT5||29 July 2012||list|
|(468909) 2014 KZ44||24 May 2014||list|
|(468910) 2014 KQ76||26 May 2014||list|
|(469219) 2016 HO3||27 April 2016||list|
|(471240) 2011 BT15||24 January 2011||list|
|(471335) 2011 OD16||25 July 2011||list|
|(471339) 2011 ON45||27 July 2011||list|
|(471513) 2012 CE17||3 February 2012||list|
|(471931) 2013 PH44||12 August 2013||list|
|(471956) 2013 SC25||29 September 2013||list|
|(472235) 2014 GE45||4 April 2014||list|
|(472265) 2014 SR303||19 September 2014||list|
|(472760) 2015 FZ117||23 March 2015||list|
|(477521) 2010 DQ77||16 February 2010||list|
|(479345) 2013 WY67||27 November 2013||list|
|(480017) 2014 QB442||2 October 2013||list|
|(482244) 2011 HR||24 April 2011||list|
|(482344) 2011 WL15||22 November 2011||list|
|(482467) 2012 LK9||12 June 2012||list|
|(482505) 2012 TQ78||6 October 2012||list|
|(482533) 2012 UA34||17 October 2012||list|
|(482650) 2013 BK18||16 January 2013||list|
|(482766) 2013 GF69||10 April 2013||list|
|(482798) 2013 QK48||29 August 2013||list|
|(482824) 2013 XC26||6 December 2013||list|
|(482989) 2014 OV159||19 January 2012||list|
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- Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96) is a part of Catalina Sky Survey, another two parts are Siding Spring Survey (E12) and Catalina Sky Survey (703) itself.
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- Aileen Donnelly (25 April 2014). "Mystery of 'super-supernova' PS1-10afx solved as researchers discover hidden galaxy that warped space-time". National Post.
- An ultraviolet-optical flare from the tidal disruption of a helium-rich stellar core Gezari, et al.
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- MPEC 2010-U07
- IAU Minor Planet Center
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- NASA’S NEW ASTEROID ALERT SYSTEM GIVES 5 WHOLE DAYS OF WARNING. Nov 2016
- Pan-STARRS web site
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