ATLAS Update 8

2013 JUN 30

Tunguska Impact Event over Russia 105 years ago today

[Andrei Sherstyuk. Image credit: Andrei Sherstyuk.]

Andrei Sherstyuk.

TELESCOPE: The ATLAS project forged ahead this quarter following a Request For Proposal to telescope manufacturers to determine who could design, build, and deliver ATLAS telescopes on our budget.

We received three excellent options with one a standout for its delivery of a system that goes beyond our original concept for the ATLAS survey speed. Negotiations are underway to finalize a contract with the manufacturer.

PERSONNEL: Senior software engineer Larry Denneau is now working on ATLAS full-time. Larry's extensive career in software design and development includes 10 years with the Institute for Astronomy's Pan-STARRS 1 project.

We also welcome software engineer Andrei Sherstyuk who will join the team on July 8. Andrei brings more than 15 years of industrial and academic expertise in computer graphics including the design and development of interactive virtual reality systems for medical research and education.

With Larry and Andrei's considerable experience we are confident in having a prototype ATLAS image analysis pipeline operational by the end of 2013.

IMAGES: Our immediate task is the purchase of computer clusters to be co-located with each ATLAS unit and at our base site at the IfA in Honolulu. To test the ATLAS image and moving analysis software, we have the use of almost one million Pan-STARRS 1 SkyProbe images. SkyProbe is a small telescope piggybacked on the PS1 telescope, which takes wide-field, low-resolution images each time PS1 takes a one-minute exposure. These are near-perfect test images for creating the ATLAS pipeline: real data from a real telescope.

[Dr. Eva Schunova and Bryce Bolin staffing the ATLAS exhibit at the IfA Open House. Image credit: Karen Teramura, UH IfA.]

Dr. Eva Schunova and Bryce Bolin staffing the
ATLAS exhibit at theIfA Open House.

EDUCATION: As part of our public outreach program, John Tonry and Robert Jedicke recently gave talks about ATLAS and dangerous asteroids to local Rotary Clubs and the ARCS Foundation.

At the IfA Open House in April, Dr. Eva Schunova and NEO research analyst Bryce Bolin manned the ATLAS exhibit and answered questions from the public. More than 2,000 people attended the IfA event, many of them relieved to learn that ATLAS will soon be searching for dangerous incoming asteroids such as the Chelyabinsk meteor on February 15 and the mighty Tunguska event that exploded above Earth scorching hundreds of square miles in Russia exactly 105 years ago today.

Please continue to check for asteroid news and project updates. Thank you for your interest in ATLAS.