Analysis of Asteroid Telescope Performance is Published
A new set of analysis tools for predicting the performance of telescopes for finding and tracking Near Earth Asteroids was published by B612 Foundation in the Astronomical Journal. The article was authored by B612 Mission, Scientist Marc W. Buie; B612 Mission Director, Harold J. Reitsema; and Roger P. Linfield. We have used these tools to analyze Sentinel and its ability to survey the inner solar system for asteroids that may pose a threat to Earth. In particular, we showed how Sentinel in conjunction with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) could jointly find more than 70% of Near Earth Asteroids larger than the Tunguska asteroid (>45m). This work establishes the importance of considering the overall performance when operated with other complementary telescopes when analyzing new proposed telescope designs.
As we move forward our work on groundbreaking technologies such as synthetic tracking for finding the far more frequent and yet still potentially dangerous <140m asteroids, we will ensure that the analytical tools we applied to Sentinel are available to scientists proposing to build other asteroid hunting telescopes. In our recent OpEd we placed in Space News we touched on this agenda.
This important research was made possible by the generous support of our international community of donors. The paper was published in full in the Astronomical Journal in October 2016 and you can read the abstract here.