NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2021B-0332

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Program Information for 2021B-0332


PI: Scott Sheppard, Carnegie Institution of Washington, sheppard@dtm.ciw.edu
Address: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 Broad Branch Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20015 USA

CoI: Chadwick Trujillo, Northern Arizona U.
CoI: David Tholen, U. of Hawaii

Title: A Uniform Survey for Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects

Abstract: The Kuiper Belt has an outer edge at about 50 AU. Several of our discoveries from our ongoing survey, including 2012 VP113, 2013 FT28, 2014 SR349, 2015 TG387 and 2018 VM35 are some of the only high semi- major axis objects with perihelia near or beyond this edge. There are several theories as to the origin of these extreme and eccentric objects that can only be tested by finding several more. Since 2012 we have been performing the widest and deepest survey ever obtained to search for distant solar system objects. Our surprising result in 2014 was that the extreme trans-Neptunian objects exhibit orbital clustering that suggests a yet unobserved super-Earth planet could be shepherding them into these similar orbits. But the case for a distant massive planet is far from secure as the clustering is based on low number statistics that have observational biases. Though we use an observational bias simulator to limit observational biases, we need a more uniform survey to further limit biases and increase object numbers to the point of statistical significance. We here propose to make our survey more uniform by covering areas of sky that have little or no coverage to date. This will allow us to strongly constrain formation theories of the extreme objects and the planet's orbit if it exists.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2021B):  CT-4m/DECam -- 3n on Aug 28 - Sep 02 2021


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2021B-0332

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