|Survey type||astronomical survey|
|Organization||University of Arizona, NASA|
|Observations||Mount Lemmon Observatory|
|see § List of discovered minor planets|
Catalina Sky Survey (CSS; obs. code: 703) is an astronomical survey to discover comets and asteroids. It is conducted at the Steward Observatory's Catalina Station, located near Tucson, Arizona, in the United States.
CSS focuses on the search for near-Earth objects, in particular on any potentially hazardous asteroid that may pose a threat of impact. Its counterpart in the southern hemisphere was the Siding Spring Survey (SSS), closed in 2013 due to loss of funding. CSS supersedes the photographic Bigelow Sky Survey.
The NEO Observations Program is a result of a United States 1998 congressional directive to NASA to begin a program to identify 1 kilometre (0.62 mile) or larger objects to around 90 percent confidence level or better. The Catalina Sky Survey, located at the Mount Lemmon Observatory in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, carries out searches for near-earth objects, NEOs, contributing to the Congressionally mandated goal.
In addition to identifying impact risks, the project also obtains other scientific information, including: improving the known population distribution in the main belt, finding the cometary distribution at larger perihelion distances, determining the distribution of NEOs as a product of collisional history and transport to the inner Solar System, and identifying potential targets for flight projects.
The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) uses two telescopes, a 1.5 meter (60 inch) f/2 telescope on the peak of Mount Lemmon, and a 68 cm (27 inch) f/ 1.7 Schmidt telescope near Mount Bigelow (both in the Tucson, Arizona area). The CSS southern hemisphere counterpart, the Siding Spring Survey (SSS), used a 0.5 meter (20 inch) f/3 Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. All sites use identical, thermo-electrically cooled cameras and common software written by the CSS team. The cameras are cooled to approximately −100 °C (−148 °F) so their dark current is about 1 electron per hour. These 4096×4096 pixel cameras provide a field of view of 1 degree square with the 1.5-m telescope and nearly 9 square degrees with the Catalina Schmidt. Nominal exposures are 30 seconds and the 1.5-m can reach objects fainter than 21.5 V in that time.
In 2005, CSS became the most prolific NEO survey surpassing Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) in total number of NEOs and potentially hazardous asteroids discovered each year since. CSS discovered 310 NEOs in 2005, 396 in 2006, 466 in 2007, and in 2008 564 NEOs were found.
|Minor planet||Discovery date||Description|
|2006 JY26||May 6, 2006||Near missed the Moon and the Earth on May 9–10, 2006, and may impact the Earth on May 3, 2073.|
|2007 WD5||November 20, 2007||Near missed Mars on January 9, 2008 |
|2007 TU24||October 11, 2007||Close approached Earth on January 29, 2008 |
|2008 TC3||October 6, 2008||Struck Earth on October 7, 2008 |
|2012 XE133||December 12, 2012||Currently a temporary co-orbital of Venus.|
|2014 AA||January 1, 2014||Struck Earth on January 2, 2014.|
|2018 LA||June 2, 2018||Struck Earth on June 2, 2018.|
The full CSS team is:
The CSS has helped with Astronomy Camp showing campers how they detect NEOs. They even played a role in an astrophotography exercise with the 2006 Adult Astronomy Camp ending up with a picture that was featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day.