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The Catalina Sky Survey for Near-Earth Objects - and other transients

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Larson (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona)

The CSS has been responsible for about 70% of those NEOs discovered over the past 4 years. The main components of this success are 1) optimized telescopes dedicated to full-time surveying, 2) efficient planning, detection, and evaluation software enabling near real-time response, and 3) use of highly skilled observers that make real-time decisions based on observing conditions, need to perform same-night follow-up, and rapid reporting of results. It was the combination of these factors that enabled the detection and orbit determination of 2008 TC3 - the first rock to be observed in space just prior to its terminal plunge into our atmosphere, and eventual recovery of rare Ureilite fragments on the sands of northern Sudan.

A spin-off of the CSS survey data has been the detection of stationary transient objects through the CalTech Catalina Real-time Transient Survey whose detection of supernovae, blazers and other transient objects of astrophysical interest are rapidly communicated through the VOEventNet and enabling timely classification.

The CSS is supported by the NASA NEOO project, and CRTS by the NSF.

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