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Small body harvest from SPECULOOS: GPU-accelerated search for asteroids and comets in our Solar System using photometric data from the SPECULOOS exoplanet search.

Presentation #102.341 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Small body harvest from SPECULOOS: GPU-accelerated search for asteroids and comets in our Solar System using photometric data from the SPECULOOS exoplanet search.

SPECULOOS is a targeted ground-based photometric survey, which aims at finding terrestrial exoplanets transiting nearest ultra-cool dwarfs. SPECULOOS telescopes observe a set of preselected 12'×12' sky fields for several hundred hours and provide impressive photometric performance. Our work aims to fully utilize the potential of SPECULOOS photometric data by detecting “moving objects”, i.e. objects crossing a field of view of each telescope. Such moving objects are typically asteroids and comets (small bodies), which are pristine remnants of Solar System formation. To find these objects, we employ digital tracking (also known as synthetic tracking, or shift and stack method). This approach relies on shifting and stacking of individual astronomical images according to a motion vector of a moving body in order to increase object’s signal in the data. Such approach allows detection of smaller and/or more distant objects in the Solar System compared to a conventional technique, which determines if an object exhibits consistent movement from one image to the next (and where moving object’s signal-to-noise ratio is limited to that of a single exposure). We present a dedicated GPU-accelerated (Graphics Processing Unit) digital tracking pipeline, which is able to confidently detect moving objects as faint as Vmag ~23.5 and results of its work on a set of 150 SPECULOOS fields, which constitute ~20 000 hours of imaging time.

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