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There are well over 35,000 NEOs in the sky that pose a direct hazard through impact with Earth at some point in the orbit of both the Earth and the asteroid.  Several lesser objects have hit the earth in the past century, the most notable being the famous Tunguska impact of 1908 in Siberia which cleared the forests of all living things for several hundred square miles.  Of course the most famous impact of Earth occurred in the dinosaur-bearing Cretaceous period, some 65 million years ago, the result being the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other living species which have never again populated our planet.

Computerized control of telescopes, cameras and even observatory movement began in 2000, and complete digital operation began in 2001 at which time observations were reported and archived in digital format ( ).  The automated database is part of the computerized system which not only determines which objects have a nightly priority in terms of urgency, but also moves the telescope and dome automatically to follow and record data of each object; in turn, the data is automatically processed and the orbits for each is re-computed after each night's research.

Clay at Telescope

ASO is on a pace to surpass 12,000 observations just for the year 2016, the largest number of submissions for any observatory that is not funded either by NASA or some other agency.

The observatories, two of which are located on Petit Jean Mountain,  are operated by Clay Sherrod.  The largest telescope is a specially-designed Richey-Maksutov 0.51 meter f/4.9 astrograph coupled with a very sensitive 11,000 megapixel CCD camera capable of reaching an incredibly faint magnitude of 20.8 in only 90 seconds of exposure.
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