Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking
PredecessorPalomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey
SuccessorNear Earth Object Program
FormationDecember 1995 (1995-12)
Founded atHaleakalā Observatory, Maui, Hawaii
DissolvedApril 2007 (2007-04)
TypeSpace observation program
Legal statusDisbanded
PurposeTo search for and map out near-earth asteroids
Principal Investigator
Raymond Bambery
Co-Investigator and Project Manager
Steven H. Pravdo
David L. Rabinowitz, Ken Lawrence and Michael Hicks
Main organ
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Parent organization
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) was a program run by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, surveying the sky for near-Earth objects. NEAT was conducted from December 1995 until April 2007, at GEODSS on Hawaii (Haleakala-NEAT; 566), as well as at Palomar Observatory in California (Palomar-NEAT; 644). With the discovery of more than 40 thousand minor planets, NEAT has been one of the most successful programs in this field, comparable to the Catalina Sky Survey, LONEOS and Mount Lemmon Survey.[1][2][3]

NEAT was the successor to the Palomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey (PCAS).


Number of NEOs detected by various projects:
  All others

The original principal investigator was Eleanor F. Helin, with co-investigators Steven H. Pravdo and David L. Rabinowitz.[1]

NEAT had a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Air Force to use a GEODSS telescope located on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. GEODSS stands for Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance and these wide field Air Force telescopes were designed to optically observe Earth orbital spacecraft. The NEAT team designed a CCD camera and computer system for the GEODSS telescope. The CCD camera format was 4096 × 4096 pixels and the field of view was 1.2° × 1.6°.

Beginning in April 2001, the Samuel Oschin telescope (1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) aperture Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory) was also put into service to discover and track near-Earth objects. This telescope was equipped with a camera containing 112 CCDs each 2400 × 600. This was the telescope that produced the images leading to the discovery of 50000 Quaoar in 2002, and 90377 Sedna in 2003 (published 2004) and the dwarf planet Eris.

In addition to discovering thousands of asteroids, NEAT was also credited with the co-discovery (recovery) of periodic comet 54P/de Vico-Swift-NEAT and of the high proper motion Teegarden's star. The C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) comet was discovered on August 24, 2001 by NEAT.[4]

An asteroid was named in its honour, 64070 NEAT, in early 2005.[5]


Minor planets discovered: 40,975 [3]
see List of minor planets § Main index

See also: Category:Discoveries by NEAT

1996 PW was discovered on 1996 August 9 by a NEAT automated search camera on Haleakalā, Hawaii.[6] It was the first object that was not an active comet discovered on an orbit typical of a long-period comets.[6] This raised the possibility it was an extinct comet or an unusual asteroid.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)". Near Earth Object Program. NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 14 January 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  2. ^ Bauer, J. M.; Lawrence, K. J.; Buratti, B. J.; Bambery, R. J.; Lowry, S. C.; Meech, K. J.; et al. (December 2007). "Photometry of Small Outer Solar System Bodies with the NEAT Database" (PDF). Asteroids. 1405: 8086. Bibcode:2008LPICo1405.8086B. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  4. ^ "C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NASA. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  5. ^ "64070 NEAT (2001 SS272)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NASA. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b Weissman, P. R. & Levison, H. F. (1997). Origin and evolution of the unusual object 1996 PW: Asteroids from the Oort cloud?. The Astrophysical Journal, 488, L133–L136
  7. ^ "New Object Moves like a Comet but Looks like an Asteroid". Pasadena, California: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 22 August 1996. Retrieved 22 September 2017.