Pan-STARRS will be composed of four individual optical systems, each with a 1.8 meter diameter mirror observing the same region of sky simultaneously. Each mirror will have a 3 degree field of view and be equipped with a CCD digital camera with 1.4 billion pixels. The spatial sampling of the sky will be about 0.3 arcseconds. While searching for potential killer asteroids in survey mode Pan-STARRS will cover 6,000 deg2 per night. The whole available sky as seen from Hawaii will be observed 3 times during the dark time in each lunar cycle.

With exposure times varying between 30 and 60 seconds, we expect Pan-STARRS to reach a limiting magnitude of 24. Our focal planes will employ Orthogonal Transfer CCDs (OTCCDs) that allow the shifting of charge along both rows and columns. This will allow us to use on-chip image motion compensation — the equivalent of “tip-tilt” image compensation but without any moving parts.