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Detecting alternatives to Planet 9 with LSST

Presentation #350.07 in the session The Sun and the Solar System — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Detecting alternatives to Planet 9 with LSST

The Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) is an upcoming large survey of the sky, to be conducted on Rubin Observatory’s 8.4m primary telescope situated on Cerro Pachon in the Chilean Andes. One of the four key areas of Rubin’s research is the census and understanding of objects in the Solar System. This includes exploring the region of space beyond the classical Kuiper belt, at 50au and beyond. This region is hypothesised to possibly contain additional large planets (e.g. Batygin & Brown 2016; Volk & Malhotra 2017), though recent results bring this into question (Napier et al. 2021). An interesting alternative to Planet 9 hypotheses has been proposed by Zderic & Madigan (2020). Instead of a single planet-sized body, the authors propose a massive belt of trans-Neptunian objects. This “Zderic-Madigan” belt could collectively fulfill the need for more mass in the outer solar system, producing apsidal-clustering effects similar to those of a single planet (Zderic et al. 2020).

In this work, present the preliminary results on the detectability of such a belt with the LSST. We have run a number of proposed LSST cadences through the Rubin Simulator (rubin_sims; Jones et al, in prep) and ObjectsInField/Survey Simulator Post Processing (OIF/SSPP; Shantanu et al., in prep), to see if LSST is capable of observing ZM belt objects. We find that the LSST is likely to observe the largest objects present on more eccentric (small perihelia) orbits. Depending on the details of properties of the ZM belt, the LSST data should be able to confirm or rule out its existence within the first few years of observing.

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