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Massive telescope in Hawaii will be used by researchers from around the world

The researchers from three UK universities will jointly use a superior telescope located on the island of Maui to help locate possible Earth-threatening asteroids. Researchers from Queen's University, the University of Durham and the University of Edinburgh have all signed an agreement to use the the Pan-STARRS telescope. Since many telescopes are able to monitor large asteroids that could potentially impact Earth, this specialized team will look for asteroids that are under 1 kilometer in diameter.

Researchers will also use a large digital camera to help take snapshots of the universe. Activities such as producing three-dimensional maps of galaxies, discovering how galaxies evolved, and searching for exploding stars are some of the long-term jobs for the Pan-STARRS. Some astronomers believe the telescope will be able to help discover millions of new stars and galaxies.

The Pan-STARRS observatory has four 1.8-meter imaging mirrors feeding all recorded data into a 1.4 billion-megabyte camera. One night of recorded data will be "several terabytes" in size. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii helped develop the telescope. It is scheduled to become fully operational sometime in 2007.




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