Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope

 

Spacewatch is the name of a group at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory founded by Tom Gehrels and Robert S. McMillan in 1980. Today, Spacewatch is led by McMillan.  The original goal of Spacewatch was to explore the various populations of small objects in the Solar System, and study the statistics of asteroids and comets in order to investigate the dynamical evolution of the solar system. Studies included the Main-Belt, Centaur, Trojan, Comet, Trans-Neptunian, and Earth-approaching asteroid populations. Spacewatch also found potential targets for interplanetary spacecraft missions. Since 1998, Spacewatch has focused primarily on follow-up astrometry of such targets, and especially monitors the positions and motions of objects that might present a hazard to the Earth.

Spacewatch personnel run the Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope, the oldest on Kitt Peak. It was installed in 1923 on the University of Arizona campus and houses the first large telescope mirror successfully cast in the United States. The telescope was then moved to Kitt Peak in 1962.

For scientists: More details can be found on the science page.

 

Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope

Name(s) Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope
Status Operational
Broad Science Goals
  • Recovering faint Solar System objects, especially Near Earth Asteroids which have been found to pose an impact hazard, such as the Virtual Impactors (VIs) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs). 
  • Other objects of interest include future radar targets, possible targets of human exploration and objects discovered by the WISE and NEOWISE surveys which have valuable infrared estimates of their size.
Site Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA
Location Coordinates 31° 96' 22" N
111° 60' 03 "W
Altitude 2080 meters (6824 feet)
Enclosure  
Type  
Optical Design Corrected prime focus, f/3
Field of View 2.9 square degrees
Diameter: Primary M1 0.9 meters
Material: Primary M1  
Diameter: Secondary M2  
Material: Secondary M2  
Mount Altitude-azimuth
First Light Date 1962
Adaptive Optics  
Images taken with the Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope Link
Images of the Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope Link
Videos of the Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope Link
Press Releases with the Spacewatch 0.9-meter Telescope Link

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