Title: Pan-STARRS: the Next Generation in Survey Astronomy Has Arrived

Dr. William Burgett
University of Hawaii

Although large and powerful ground-based and space-based optical telescopes (e.g., Keck, Subaru, and HST) provide spectacular images and utilize complex instrumentation for detailed scientific research, their power comes at the expense of narrow fields of view (telescope “tunnel vision”). This means that such systems greatly benefit from survey systems that can aid them in identifying objects of interest. In the past, wide field astronomical instruments have suffered from a lack of sensitivity compared to their “big brothers” that has limited the depth and resolution achievable by survey observations. However, the next generation of survey systems will greatly reduce this disparity. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, Pan-STARRS, is the first of these next generation systems, and, when operational, will produce an avalanche of data in several areas of astrophysics and cosmology including dark energy, dark matter, extrasolar planets, and mapping our own solar system in unprecedented detail including new identifications of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs). In this talk, I will present an overview of the science, technology, and politics of Pan-STARRS as well as the status of the Phase 1 prototype PS1 currently undergoing commissioning.

UT Arlington Physics