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DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP) Observational Program

Presentation #501.01 in the session Objects on the Edge (of our Solar System).

Published onOct 20, 2022
DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP) Observational Program

The multi-year observational campaign for the DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP) is nearly complete with over 90 nights of observations scheduled using the Cerro Tololo Blanco 4 meter telescope, primarily in half-night increments. With a limiting magnitude of V of about 26.5, after digital tracking, covering over 35 square degrees, DEEP is among the faintest surveys sensitive to Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) to date. We expect to discover and perform orbital characterization for thousands of TNOs in this survey, more than doubling the known population. Here, we summarize the observations that have taken place including the cadence of observations, sky areas searched, image quality and depth achieved. In addition, we discuss how our observations have met the expectations originally laid out in our plan, or in some cases, presented us with challenges, such as navigating the shutdown of many astronomical observatories for the COVID pandemic and a move to largely remote data collection once observatories were back in operation.

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