Skip to comments.World's Largest Digital Camera to Watch for Killer Asteroids
Posted on 06/25/2010 8:55:08 AM PDT by JoeProBono
If a planet-destroying asteroid is headed for Earth, scientists now have a much better chance of spotting it.
From its perch atop Hawaiis dormant Haleakala volcano, the PS1 telescope, which boasts the world's largest digital camera, has begun full-time operations, snapping hundreds of high-resolution photos each day as it scans the sky for space rocks and strange stellar phenomena.
PS1 is the first of several telescopes planned as part of the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS. The telescope will map near-Earth asteroids ranging in size from 984 feet (300 meters)big enough to cause major regional destruction if one struck an inhabited areato 0.6-mile (1-kilometer), which have the potential to produce global catastrophe.
It provides the best early-warning system we have, said Edo Berger, a professor with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who has studied data from the telescope. The center is part of a consortium that is helping to fund PS1.
A Digital Eye Bigger Than Hubble's
Although PS1 first came online in late 2008, it only began complete dusk-to-dawn operations last month.
Now, every 30 seconds PS1 snaps a 1,400-megapixel shot of a section of sky as large as 36 full moonsa view 3,600 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescopes main camera. One of these images would produce a 300-dpi print covering half a basketball court.
In total the telescope gathers enough data to fill a thousand DVDs (nearly five terabytes) every night and maps a sixth of the sky each month. It can also see objects ten times fainter than previous surveys.
These abilities are key to discovering not only killer space rocks but huge numbers of much more common phenomena, from planet-size bodies in our solar system to far-flung cosmic cataclysms......
The Pan-STARRS PS1 Observatory in Hawaii, just before sunrise.
At this point, the only reason would be to know we're about to die.
We no longer have the capability to intercept them, and never had the ability to deflect them.
Even if we could deflect a killer asteroid, the current administration would regard it as a crisis to good to go to waste.
Is the camera going to stop it from hitting the earth? The further out we know, the more riots and chaos will reign. No thanks.
5 terabytes a night? lol....hope they have a registered copy of WinZIP...
When I have killer asteroids, I use this.
What a collosal waste of time and money.
God has already declared he will not destroy the entirety of mankind (at least before judgment). The rainbows we see serve as a reminder of that covenant (Genesis 9:9-17).
So it comes down to who you choose to believe.
Pretty cool stuff, but I kinda agree with some of the other freepers - It just gives us more time to contemplate our deaths.
But on another note I recently read that the destruction caused by asteroids, meteors, comets, etc., may not be as huge as was earlier calculated. I remember reading where all it would take is something about 20 miles in diameter to destroy the earth. Now I’m reading it would take something much larger.
In any case we are not yet capable of doing anything to stop one even a few hundred feet in diameter, so until we can, I’d rather not know one is on the way.
“Even if we could deflect a killer asteroid, the current administration would regard it as a crisis to good to go to waste.”
No doubt they have contingency plans to ram through Cap and Tax, immigration reform, VAT and all other goodies on the Progressive Top Ten list the instant they confirm that a planet-destroying asteriod is 2 weeks from collision with us. They would kick themselves if they let such a crisis pass without leaving BHO with a “historic” legacy. No doubt they anticipate that future time travelers would be able to roll back the tape and discover just what a great, underappreciated president he was...
Part of me wonders whether it would even be a good thing to even know an ‘extinction event’ is coming. I believe I’d rather have knowledge of it, not that it would do anyone a hell of a lot of good.
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