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Ongoing and Near-Future Science Projects with DEEP

Presentation #501.04 in the session Objects on the Edge (of our Solar System).

Published onOct 20, 2022
Ongoing and Near-Future Science Projects with DEEP

The DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP) is a deep survey of the outer solar system. It has been carried out on the 4-meter Blanco telescope using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and has demonstrated the ability to efficiently detect solar system objects as faint as r ~ 26.5. With such a detection depth, the DEEP project opens up many opportunities to explore solar system science. In this presentation, we introduce several ongoing projects that use the DEEP data, including:

1. The H/size distributions of different dynamical classes of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs): More than 100 DEEP TNOs were linked through three oppositions (2019–2021). These objects have well-determined orbits and accurate heliocentric distance measurements, enabling dynamical classification and characterization of the H distribution without any assumed prior distributions.

2. The measurement of the mean plane of cold classical Kuiper Belt: with more than 1000 single-night detections of Cold Classical objects in each DEEP field, we can accurately measure the mean plane of cold classical Kuiper Belt using exclusively DEEP data.

3. The magnitude/H/size distributions of Centaurs, Jovian Trojans, and Hilda asteroids: The L4 Jovian Trojans were in our 2019 DEEP fields. With GPU-accelerated image stacking and source detection, we can increase the size of the shift-and-stack phase space for DEEP images. We expect to detect a thousand Trojans, a hundred Hildas, and dozens of Centaurs down to r ≳ 26, which is comparable to the sizes of main-belt asteroids.

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