Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search

LONEOS is an acronym for Lowell Observatory Near- Earth Object Search (English for Lowell Observatory - Search Near Earth Objects ).

The project was launched in 1993 and served the semi - or fully automatic search for near-Earth objects, so-called (English Near-Earth object, NEO ). These are objects, in particular near-Earth asteroid whose path can lead them to the vicinity of Earth.

The search began in 1998 with a 60 -cm Schmidt telescope and should find in ten years, about 2,000 near-Earth objects. The first discovery was made on 18 June 1998. LONEOS was discontinued at the end of February 2008.

From about 100 meters size, the impact of an asteroid - is to be expected with the approximately every 100,000 years - of, regional importance. In the current decade, one would like to capture all potential near-Earth objects that are larger than a kilometer. From a total of two million asteroids of this size are likely to be about 1,000. Down to 100 m, there are about ten times more.

On 15 October 2003 LONEOS scored a sensational success: the retrieval of 66 years lost asteroids ( 69230 ) Hermes. He flew back in 1.5-fold Moon distance over, was estimated at 1,200 m, but was lost after only five days. An accurate determination of the orbit now revealed that Hermes had in 1942 again "by stolen " in 1.6 times the Moon distance.

Hermes is 1 to 2 km across and passed by the Earth now 10 times more distant ( on 4 November 2003 in 7 million kilometers ). What will be in the next few centuries, depends inter alia on the perturbations in encounters with Venus.

Currently, more ten search programs running in the U.S., Europe and East Asia, which are some " NEOs " of 100 meters to 1 km Size per night. The most successful program is called LINEAR and works with a 1 -m telescope and CCD automatic.

As the limit of the usual attention of researchers encounters apply to moon distance and a time frame of several decades.