AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 104. NOAO Survey Programs
Special, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 608-609

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[104.09] The Deep Ecliptic Survey

R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman (Lowell Observatory), J. L. Elliot, S. D. Kern, K. Clancy (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), R. M. Wagner (LBT Observatory), E. I. Chiang, A. Jordan (UC Berkeley), D. E. Trilling (University of Pennsylvania), K. J. Meech (University of Hawaii)

The Deep Ecliptic Survey is a reconnaissance of the Kuiper Belt being conducted with the MOSAIC cameras on the 4-meter telescopes at KPNO and CTIO. The objectives of the survey are to determine (1) the spatial distribution of the KBOs, (2) the distribution of their orbital eccentricities and inclinations, and (3) the relative proportions of KBOs in resonant, non-resonant, and scattered orbits. In addition, we seek to better understand the relationship between the Kuiper Belt and circumstellar dust disks. These objectives are being addressed through the creation of a homogeneous data base of approximately 500 KBOs with accurately determined orbits. To date, 234 KBOs and Centaurs discovered in the course of the survey have received provisional designations or permanent numbers. Among these are several objects with interesting physical and dynamical characteristics including 28978 Ixion, the intrinsically brightest KBO; three objects that subsequently have been found by other investigators to be binaries; and the dynamically young KBO, 2000 QB243. Early results and a detailed description of the observational and analytic techniques used in the survey have been published (Millis et al., AJ 123, 2083-2109, 2002).

Newly discovered KBOs found in the survey are promptly announced to the community through the Minor Planet Center and on the DES web site, http://www.lowell.edu/Research/DES/. Much additional information of use to observers is also maintained on this site. All bias-corrected and flattened images taken in the survey will be available to the community via the NOAO archive. The prompt release of all data from the Deep Ecliptic Survey has facilitated a number of ground- and space-based investigations of the physical and dynamical characteristics of KBOs by other investigators (e.g., Gladman et al., Icarus 157, 269-279, 2002; Viellet et al., Nature 416, 711-713, 2002; and Noll et al., Icarus, in press).

In this paper, we will describe the progress to date in the survey, outline the observational and analytic techniques we have developed, and summarize the more important preliminary results. This research is supported in part by NASA and NSF. The NOAO facilities used in the survey are funded by NSF through a contract to AURA.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.lowell.edu/Research/DES/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.