Earth continues to be hit by asteroids and comets. Fortunately, impacts by larger objects are rare. The Pan-STARRS Telescopes on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, search the sky nightly for Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), and have become the most prolific discovery telescopes for larger NEOs. I will briefly describe the NEO survey, and will discuss some of the recent discoveries from Pan-STARRS.
Dr Richard Wainscoat is leading the search for Near Earth Objects with the Pan-STARRS telescopes atop Haleakala on Maui. He grew up in Australia, studying physics at the University of Western Australia, then receiving his PhD in astronomy from the Australian National University. He was attracted to Hawaii by the excellent observatory sites on Mauna Kea and Haleakala, and the powerful telescopes that are located atop those mountains. He began his career by studying the structure of galaxies, then later switched fields to study Near-Earth Objects. Near-Earth Objects are asteroids and comets that come relatively close to Earth. Impacts from larger objects will have catastrophic consequences to life on Earth, so worldwide efforts are now being made to find any objects that may hit Earth in the future so that they can be deflected. He now leads the Near-Earth Object search program with the Pan-STARRS telescopes on Haleakala. Pan-STARRS is presently the leading discoverer of Near-Earth Objects, and also discovers more than half of all new comets. He is also a photographer and an astrophotographer and arguably has one of the most important jobs on our planet.
Date: Monday 7 September
Time: 6:30pm (join in via Zoom at 6:20pm)
How: Members will be emailed a Zoom link prior.
Non-members can attend. Please email email@example.com at least 24 hours prior. Your Zoom profile must show your name when you are admitted by the host. After the event we hope you will be keen to become a member so you can access future events and, when Covid-19 conditions permit, telescope viewing.