NELIOTA is an activity launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the National Observatory of Athens in February, 2015. It aims to determine the distribution and frequency of small near-earth objects (NEOs) by monitoring lunar impact flashes. The NELIOTA project has established an operational system that started monitoring the Moon for faint NEO impacts in early 2017, using the 1.2m Kryoneri telescope, located in the Northern Peloponnese, in Greece. The NELIOTA campaign will run until January 2021.
The Kryoneri telescope was upgraded for the project in 2016. Specialised fast-frame cameras were installed and specialised software was developed to control the telescope and cameras, as well as process the resulting images to detect the impacts automatically. NELIOTA furthermore provides a web-based user interface, where the impact events are reported and made available to the scientific community and the general public.
The 1.2m Kryoneri telescope is capable of detecting flashes much fainter than current, small-aperture, lunar monitoring telescopes. NELIOTA is therefore expected to characterize the frequency and distribution of NEOs weighing as little as a few grams.