KAHULUI, Hawaii, June 18 (UPI) — A telescope in Hawaii has started searching space for asteroids or comets in orbits that could threaten a collision with Earth, scientists say.
The Pan-STARRS 1 telescope will map portions of the sky each night, looking for moving objects within our solar system, the BBC reported Wednesday.
The telescope’s massive 1,400 megapixel digital camera can map and record one-sixth of the entire sky every month, the BBC said.
“Although modest in size, this telescope is on the cutting edge of technology,” Nick Kaiser, head of the Pan-STARRS project, said.
The telescope’s camera will take more than 500 exposures a night, collecting a nightly amount of data equivalent to what 1,000 DVDs could hold.
Follow-up observations of moving objects detected by the telescope will allow astronomers to track them and calculate their orbits, identifying any potential threats to Earth, the BBC said.
The 60-inch diameter telescope on Haleakala on Maui is the experimental prototype for a larger telescope that will have four times the power and is planned for Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
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