The search for asteroids is conducted with wide-field telescopes known as Schmidt telescopes. A few near-Earth asteroids are being found each year by a team including Eugene Shoemaker. Carolyn Shoemaker (shown here with the Schmidt instrument at the Palomar Observatory), and Eleanor Helin. The telescopes are scanned at the same rate as the Earth turns, so that on photographic plates the stars remain fixed points. Under these conditions, asteroids which are moving across the star field appear as streaks on the plates. The small size and scarcity of near-Earth asteroids makes their discovery a particularly tedious task.
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