"Spaceguard" for the Southern Hemisphere by a different name?

Hi all,
this ABC news story was a bit of a relief. Not that I stay awake at night worrying about a “Deep Impact” from the Southern Skies, but is is annoying how long we’ve effectively been blind to half the universe.

The SkyMapper is a modest 1.35 metres in diameter but it is equipped with a 268 megapixel camera. Each pixel is 100 times more sensitive than those in the average digital camera.

“The thing that differentiates this telescope is that it can look at a piece of sky 25 times larger than the full moon. A normal telescope looks at a piece of sky much smaller than the full moon,” Professor Schmidt said.

“So this allows us to map the sky very quickly, even 100 times faster than a normal telescope. So that enables us – within five years – to cover every part of the southern sky more than 35 times, in six colours, and that provides a complete census.

“If we were to use a normal telescope it would take 1,000 years to cover the sky because they just don’t capture much of the sky at a time.”

And check the super-geek requirements for this!

Despite the telescope being 700 kilometres from Mt Stromlo, 1 gigabyte of data will be transmitted every 8 seconds via a fibre optic cable.

The information will be stored in the ANU’s super computer which can store a petabyte of data (1,000 terabytes).

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One Response to "Spaceguard" for the Southern Hemisphere by a different name?

  1. Ron Lankshear says:


    Well this from


    and it is dated 1979 and could be the article I read which stayed with me. I was sad when John Howard stopped the watch from Aust. The idea of LARGE masses criss crossing the Earth’s passage through the solar system is a tad worrying.

    Scientific American, vol. 240, Mar. 1979, p. 54-65.

    Asteroidlike bodies, called Apollo Objects, whose orbits cross the orbit of the earth are described. Methods for determining the geometric albedo of the Apollos from which their size and abundance can be calculated are discussed. The completeness-of-search-method estimates the number of the objects at 750 (plus or minus 300). The probability of their colliding with the earth is considered and it is found that the earth is struck four times in a million years, with each striking object calculated to produce a crater 20 km in diameter. Terrestrial craters are briefly analyzed in the context of Apollo impacts, concluding that about 1,500 such objects must have struck the earth since the end of the Precambrian era.

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