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Second asteroid-hunting telescope going into service on Maui

  • COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
    Since becoming operational for scientific uses May 13, the 60-inch Pan-STARRS 1 telescope atop Haleakala has mapped one-sixth of the sky visible from Hawaii.
  • COURTESY INSTITUTE FOR ASTRONOMY
    COURTESY INSTITUTE FOR ASTRONOMY Astronomers believe March 13 may be the best time to take a photo of Comet PANSTARRS C/2011 L4 because a thin crescent moon will be right above it on that night.
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WAILUKU >> The second Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System telescope atop Maui’s Haleakala volcano is expected to be operational next month.

The device is one of four powerful telescopes the University of Hawaii plans to set up to detect large asteroids and comets heading toward Earth.

The first Pan-STARRS telescope was installed at Haleakala in 2010.

The Maui News reported general contractor Armstrong Pacific has successfully retrofitted the old University of Tokyo Magnum observatory to accommodate Pan-STARRS-2.

The work included raising the observatory’s foundation and removing and replacing structural steel.

A comet spotted by the first Pan-STARRS telescope came close enough to Earth to be visible with binoculars earlier this year.

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