DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 12. Kuiper Belt and KBOs Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Tuesday, November 27, 2001, 5:00-7:00pm, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[12.16] A Large Area TNO survey with the Macho Telescope.

S. Marshall, K. Cook (LLNL), T. Axelrod, R. Moody, B. Schmidt (ANU), C. Alcock, D. Engel, J. Goldader, M. Lehner (U.Penn.)

A search for large TNOs is being carried out with the Macho Telescope System at Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia. The magnitude limit of the survey will be at least R~20. The goal is to survey >2,000 sq. degrees to ensure useful statistics of bright TNO's.

The telescope system images 0.5 square degrees simultaneously in two filters. and has been in routine operation since May 2000. We have obtained 3 epoch observations of approximately 1700 square degrees ±10o of the ecliptic.

The operation is fully automated. The incoming data stream is processed by a DoPhot based photometry package and placed into a photometry database. Objects that appear only in epoch one or epoch two are then examined by eye to eliminate spurious detections from cosmic rays, CCD defects, etc. to yield refined candidates. Objects which can be matched in epochs one and two are then used to predict a position in epoch three. Finally, orbits are fit to determine possible TNO membership and allow for follow-up detections. A more sensitive data pipeline, based on difference imaging is under development.

Preliminary results of the survey (1700 sq. degrees) are presented.

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