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E. A. Roe, J. A. Larsen (United States Naval Academy), Spacewatch Team
We present our ongoing analysis of CCD imagery to search for planet sized bodies in the outer solar system. Our data comes from the mosaic camera on the Spacewatch Project's 0.9 meter telescope at Kitt Peak. The survey uses data from 2002 to the present and collection/processing is still ongoing. The field of view of the camera is 2.9 square degrees with a limiting magnitude of approximately V=21.5. When completed, our survey will cover 10,000 - 20,000 square degrees of the sky within 20 degrees of the ecliptic. Spacewatch's survey pattern in its search for Earth approaching asteroids gives us a unique sky plane rate sensitivity of between 0.03 and 0.0003 degrees per day in the majority of our fields.
Because the survey has been conducted over a wide range of weather conditions, we pay careful attention to quality control of the data. We have developed a methodology aimed at determining the unique volume of space surveyed over the several years of data collection. We present these analyses, along with a discussion of our automated search routines.
Given our survey parameters, any objects we detect will be inherently large and interesting.
This project is supported by the U.S. Naval Academy's Trident Scholar Program, which allows seniors to conduct advanced research in their resepective fields of study.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.