los NEOs (English acronym Near Earth Objects) are asteroids whose orbits comets or, possibly modified by the gravitational pull of the planets, lead them to regions near Earth orbit. Although the chances of an impact with Earth are very small, the scientific community is developing programs to detect and study these objects. Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA, MPG/CSIC) It has signed an agreement with the European Space Agency (THAT) for the exclusive use of one of its telescopes in their campaign detecting NEOs.
NEOs may have widely varying sizes, from a few meters to tens of kilometers. Of the six hundred thousand asteroids detected, about ten thousand fall under the category of NEOS. “NEOs have to be studied in depth not only by the information provided about the formation and evolution of our solar system, but because we know the best possible physical properties so that in the future we are able to deflect and avoid collisions with them”, Jesus says Aceituno, deputy director of the Calar Alto Observatory.
the agreement, which includes a first stage until March 2017 and automatically extended, ESA yields to use the telescope Schmidt 80 centimeters observatory. This is a telescope that had fallen into disuse in 2001 and technicians have recovered observatory for remote observation.
“Repair and adaptation of the telescope has been possible thanks to the efforts of staff and has had a very low cost, but will provide a substantial source of revenue and put the observatory in a reference position in a field of new research”, Jesus points Aceituno.