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NEAT Program

Article: <>
From: (Gareth Williams)
Newsgroups: sci.astro
Subject: Re: How are comets detected?
Date: 26 Nov 96 01:37:51 GMT
Organization: Harvard University University Information Systems

David L Evens ( wrote:
: Bill Arnett ( wrote:
: : In article <575sgh$>,
: : (David L Evens) wrote:

: : :... (I've not heard of anyone finding a way to
: : : automate the process effectively yet)...

: : Aren't they doing just that at NEAT?

: If they've found a good way to automate the comparison process then it's
: news to me. There are serious technical problems in all areas of
: electronic image recognition.

The problem of automatic image detection have previously been solved by the Spacewatch program at Kitt Peak (Tom Gehrels et al.). Recognition of main-belt objects and the measurement of accurate positions is entirely automatic. The NEAT program (a joint undertaking of the Jet Propulsion Lab and the U.S. Air Force) is similarly able to do things automatically. These two programs produce a lot of positions each month (15000+) and it would not be possible to identify and measure so many objects manually. You can check out links to both programs via the Minor Planet Center's NEO Page:

Gareth Williams, Minor Planet Center