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A. Harris (SSI), Z. Ivezic (UW), M. Juric, R. Lupton (Princeton), A. Connolly (U. Pittsburgh), J. Kubica, A. Moore (CMU), E. Bowell (Lowell), G. Bernstein (U. Penn), K. Cook (LLNL), C. Stubbs (Harvard)
LSST will catalog small Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), survey the main belt asteroid (MBA) population to extraordinarily small size, discover comets far from the sun where their nuclear properties can be discerned without coma, and survey the Centaur and Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) populations. The present planned observing strategy is to ``visit'' each field (9.6 deg2) with two back-to-back exposures of ~15 sec, reaching to at least V magnitude 24.5. An intra-night revisit time of the order half an hour will distinguish stationary transients from even very distant (~70 AU) solar system bodies. In order to link observations and determine orbits, each sky area will be visited several times during a month, spaced by about a week. This cadence will result in orbital parameters for several million MBAs and about 20,000 TNOs, with light curves and colorimetry for the brighter 10% or so of each population. Compared to the current data available, this would represent factor of 10 to 100 increase in the numbers of orbits, colors, and variability of the two classes of objects. The LSST MBA and TNO samples will enable detailed studies of the dynamical and chemical history of the solar system. The increase in data volume associated with LSST asteroid science will present many computational challenges to how we might extract tracks and orbits of asteroids from the underlying clutter. Tree-based algorithms for multihypothesis testing of asteroid tracks can help solve these challenges by providing the necessary 1000-fold speed-ups over current approaches while recovering 95% of the underlying moving objects.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.