The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) continues to be the most productive Near Earth Object (NEO) survey in operation, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all NEO discoveries since 2005. We present a review of the current status of the survey operations, and highlight recent and future upgrades to our instrumentation. Recently, CSS has refurbished a 1.0-m telescope on Mt. Lemmon, Arizona, adjacent to the 1.5-m survey telescope. This telescope will be primarily used for NEO follow-up, recovery, and physical characterization of NEOs including colors and light curves. It will be capable of remote or robotic operations, programmed by adaptive queue-planning software of our own design. We expect to complete commissioning activities and begin full-time operations by the end of this year. A large-format camera featuring a single 10k x 10k detector is in the process of being fabricated for the 1.5-m survey telescope. The new camera system will increase the field-of-view from 1.2 to 5.0 square degrees, and the nightly coverage rate from 180 to 750 square degrees, to limiting magnitude V 21.5. This telescope is already the most productive for NEO discovery, accounting for approximately 40% of new NEOs since 2008, at an average rate of over 350 NEOs per year. We anticipate a significant increase in its discovery rate after commissioning, which will begin in late 2013. The Catalina Sky Survey gratefully acknowledges the support of NASA’s Near Earth Object Observation program (grant no. NNH12ZDA001N-NEOO).
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #44
- Pub Date:
- October 2012