High-tech optics protect us from asteroids

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A new observatory in Hawaii is using Technium Optic's components to scan the night sky for potentially threatening asteroids.

The Pan-Starrs (panoramic survey telescope and rapid response system) observatory, built by the University of Hawaii, will study asteroids and comets as small as 30m in diameter and will determine whether they are on the right course to collide with the Earth.

Technium Optic provided a large convex corrector lens, with a small aspect ratio, to the first prototype telescope of the project. This will be used to smooth over distortions and provide a finer detail to the observations. The telescope uses one of the largest digital cameras ever built, with a huge 1.4 billion pixels spread over 40cm2.

Since the collaboration, Technium Optic, a Welsh company, has been approached by a number of other space projects to provide UV, visible and IR lenses.