DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 49. KBO and Centaurs I
Oral, Chairs: M. Buie and S. A. Stern, Saturday, September 6, 2003, 3:30-5:40pm, DeAnza III

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

[49.01] The Caltech survey for the brightest Kuiper belt objects

C. A. Trujillo, M. E. Brown (Caltech)

The first phase of our all-sky survey for the brightest Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) is now complete. Using a 3 square degree camera mounted on the Palomar Oschin 48-inch telescope, we have detected 28 bright Kuiper belt objects and 4 Centaurs from late November 2001 through mid-April 2003. We have searched 5108 square degrees of sky near the invariable plane to limiting red magnitude 20.7, making our survey the largest sensitive to KBOs since Tombaugh's search for Pluto. Our survey is responsible for discovering 6 of the 10 intrinsically brightest KBOs, including the brightest and largest KBO (50000) Quaoar (1250 km in diameter). We have detected fewer low inclination KBOs than expected from extrapolations from previous surveys (significant at the > 3 sigma level), indicating that the low inclination KBOs may have a smaller maximum size than the high inclination KBOs.

The camera used in this work, a 3 x 4080 x 4080 pixel CCD camera with a 3 square degree field of view, has now been replaced with a 112 x 600 x 2400 pixel CCD mosaic (the QUEST camera), covering 10 square degrees with each exposure. Software and hardware upgrades allow us to perform near-real time, largely automated discovery, astrometry, photometry and recovery using this larger camera. We intend to operate with the QUEST camera for the next few years until we complete the survey, discovering the approximately 80 KBOs brighter than red magnitude 20.7 that are visible from Palomar, including several Charon-sized KBOs and possibly a Pluto-sized KBO.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~chad/. 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.

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

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.