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A System for Automated Comparison of Solar System Integrators

Presentation #110.03 in the session “Asteroid Surveys in the Era of LSST”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
A System for Automated Comparison of Solar System Integrators

We present an automated system for the comparison and validation of Solar System small-body integrators of interest to the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) applications (Ivezic et al. 2019). The LSST Solar System Object catalog and other LSST data products critically rely on integrators to predict object positions, as well as to recognize and to link previously unknown ones. Currently, there are several packages in the solar system dynamics community credited as acceptable for calculating object ephemerides; however, they have not been rigorously compared to one another. No automated comparison tool which would allow the monitoring of their relative performance as the codebases evolve exists as of today. The system presented here, written in Python, integrates a set of test particles (picked to explore both usual and unusual regions in phase space) with widely used integrator packages (including Horizons, OpenOrb, orbfit and others). It then compares the ephemerides by evaluating a number of metrics (e.g., on-sky distance, position vector 3D distance, and others), and visualizes the results in form of a dashboard. This allows for the assessment of various integration package suitability as a function of population to be integrated, as well as tracking their performance in an automated fashion as improvements and changes are made.

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