The Mercury Sky Telescope in Tibet: asteroid watch at 4200 m altitude

The CAS Purple Mountain Observatory  and the School of Astronomy and Space Science of USTC released a news release saying that the two newly discovered near-Earth asteroids by the Mercury Survey Telescope Р2023 WX1 and 2023 WB2 Рhave recently been confirmed by the International Minor Planet Center (IMPC), and these are the first near-Earth asteroids discovered by the Mercury Survey Telescope.

As the equipment with the strongest optical time-domain sky survey capability in the northern hemisphere, the Merton Sky Survey Telescope has demonstrated its powerful sky survey capability since it was officially put into use on September 17 this year, laying the foundation for the search and monitoring research of small bodies in the solar system, especially near-Earth objects.

Currently, humans have discovered more than one million asteroids, the vast majority of which are located between Mars and Jupiter, and a portion orbiting close to Earth, known as near-Earth asteroids, of which more than 27,000 have been discovered.

Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration project and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that China’s deep space exploration will carry out the first near-Earth asteroid defense mission in the next 15 years. For the near-Earth asteroid impact on the Earth this very small probability, great harm event, will be a tens of millions of kilometers of asteroid implementation of kinetic impact, so that it changes the operation of the orbit, and on-orbit assessment of the impact effect.

The Mercury Sky Survey Telescope is located in Seshten Mountain, Lenghu Town, Mangya City, Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, at an altitude of about 4,200 meters. Observation conditions here are good, light pollution is extremely low, depending on the Ning degree (telescope shows the clarity of the image) median value of 0.75 arcseconds, and the international best site for the same period of data is roughly the same, is comparable to the mountains of northern Chile, Antarctica, inland ice dome region of the first-class optical observation base.

The Mercury Sky Telescope in Tibet: asteroid watch at 4200 m altitude
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