AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 4 Solar System
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[4.10] Asteroids in the EXPLORE II Dataset

S. Schmoll (University of Washington), G. Mallen-Ornelas, M. Holman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

The inner asteroid belt holds information about the solar system's history and future. The currently accepted theory of planet formation is that smaller rocky bodies collided and formed the planets of the inner solar system, and asteroids are relics of this past. Furthermore, near Earth objects that could potentially collide with us usually originate in the main belt. Determining the size distribution of the main-belt asteroids is key to unlocking the processes of planet formation and possible problems with near Earth objects. Here the EXtra Solar PLanet Occultation(EXPLORE) II data taken with the CFH12K mosaic CCD prime focus camera on the CFHT 3.6-m telescope are used to find the size distribution of main belt asteroids. The EXPLORE Project is an extrasolar planet detection survey that focuses on one patch of the sky per observing run. The resultant data have more observations per asteroid than any preceding deep asteroid search. Here a pipeline is presented to find the asteroids in this dataset, along with the other four EXPLORE datasets. This is done by processing the data with an image subtraction package called ISIS (Alard et al. 1997) and custom masking using IRAF. Asteroids are found using SExtractor (Bertin et al. 1996) and a set of custom C programs that detects moving objects in a series of images. Then light curves are created for each asteroid found. Sizes can be estimated based on the absolute magnitudes of the asteroids. We present absolute magnitudes and preliminary size distribution for the >52 asteroids found thus far. This Research was made possible by the NSF and SAO REU Program.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
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