AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 134. LSST
Oral, Thursday, January 9, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 6AB

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[134.04] Hunting for Near-Earth Asteroids Using LSST: Detection Methods and Observational Strategies

E. Bowell (Lowell Observatory), A. W. Harris (Space Science Institute)

We will discuss the modeled performance of LSST in detecting near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), and pinpoint a number of considerations that dictate the telescope's optimum use as an NEA search instrument. For example, current surveys detect moving objects either as starlike or streaked images on three to five frames of a given region, or by image subtraction of two or more images. How does the choice of detection algorithm affect the observing strategy? Modeling has shown that, in the trade-off between areal coverage and magnitude limit, it is generally better to observe as large an area of sky as possible on a monthly basis. Is this the most effective use of LSST? LSST will image moving objects as faint as V = 24 mag, implying a detection rate of 105 or 106 asteroids per night, several hundred of which might be Earth approachers. How can asteroids detected on one night be unambiguously linked to detections on another night? The faintness and abundance of the asteroid detections will require that LSST operate in such a way that orbits be derived for as many of the asteroids as possible (LSST must undertake its own follow-up). What are the orbital requirements, and how do they dictate the cadence of LSST pointings? If observations are made in several passbands, so as to provide compositionally diagnostic information on asteroids (or for other programatic reasons), how will LSST's survey efficiency be affected?

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ebowell@lowell.edu

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