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Government Video Website of the Week: the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS)

Discovers and characterizes Earth-approaching objects that might pose a danger to our planet.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is a wide-field imaging facility developed at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy that seeks to discover and characterize Earth-approaching objects, such as asteroids and comets, that might pose a danger to our planet.

Not long after the first Pan-STARRS telescope became operational it discovered an asteroid that came to within four million miles of Earth in mid-October 2010. The object is the first “potentially hazardous object” (PHO) to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey and has been given the designation “2010 ST3.”

In addition, while searching space for objects that might collide with Earth is Pan-STARRS’ primary purpose, it also has a space-research mission and has amassed a vast database of information that can be used for studies in several other astronomical areas, particularly those involving an aspect of time variability.

For sharing information over the Internet in its attempt to watch for PHOs, as well as for conducting astronomical research, Pan-STARRS is Government Video’s Website of the Week.