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Pan-STARRS Prototype Being Built on Maui

A schematic plan for the PS1 telescope.

PS1, the prototype for Pan-STARRS--the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, will soon be under construction inside LURE Observatory on Haleakala, Maui, in an area that formerly housed the NASA Satellite Laser Ranging Station. Pan-STARRS is an innovative wide-field imaging facility being developed by IfA and its partners, the Maui High-Performance Computing Center (MHPCC), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and MIT Lincoln Laboratory, under a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory. A primary goal of Pan-STARRS is to discover asteroids that may impact our planet.

This model that shows how PS1 will fit into the new dome that will be placed on the former LURE Observatory.

PS1 is essentially one quarter of Pan-STARRS. It will allow project scientists and engineers to test all the technology that is being developed for Pan-STARRS, including the telescope design, the cameras, and the data reduction software. PS1 will be used to make a full-sky survey that will provide calibration data for the full Pan-STARRS survey.

The pier that will support the telescope has already arrived on Maui, and the six-foot primary mirror has been cast on the mainland and is now being ground. The camera that will be used on PS1 is under development at IfA Manoa and Lincoln Laboratory under the direction of IfA astronomer John Tonry. According to PS1 Project Scientist Kenneth Chambers, it will be "the largest camera in the world that looks at the sky on a regular basis."

PS1 will attain first light in January 2006. The IfA is undertaking an environmental impact statement that will determine where the complete Pan-STARRS four-telescope system, scheduled to become operational in 2008, will be built. The EIS will consider both Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

Pan-STARRS Public Web site