NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0164

Small NOAO Logo

Proposal Information for 2001A-0164


PI: Donald R. Davis, Planetary Science Institute, psikey@psi.edu
Address: 620 N. 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85705-8331, USA

CoI: Brett Gladman, Observatoire de Nice
CoI: Matthew Holman, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
CoI: Carol Neese, Planetary Science Institute
CoI: Hans Scholl, Observatorie de Nice

Title: PLS II - A Second Generation Asteroid Survey

Abstract: We propose to carry out an observational program to determine the main-belt asteroid size distribution down to sub-kilometer sizes. Such a program is critically needed to address questions such as: At what size is the distribution of small, collisionally evolved asteroids consistent with the classical Dohnanyi equilibrium size distribution? Which of the current theories for collisional disruption of asteroids matches the observed asteroid size distribution? Is the small size main- belt population adequate to supply the estimated fraction of Earth- crossing asteroids that come from the main belt? Are there enough small asteroids to replenish the asteroidal dust complex? These are among the abundant reasons for wishing to repeat a PLS-like survey to much fainter magnitudes - an impractical task for single CCDs due to the large sky area that needs to be covered to follow objects long enough to get preliminary orbits. The KPNO mosaic camera provides a tremendous opportunity to improve our understanding of solar system formation, asteroid science, and cratering rates by extending our knowledge of the size distribution down to sub-km sizes (instead of the current ~30 km limit), based on thousands of detected objects. We will explore the small size distribution down to R ~eq23.5, nearly 3 magnitudes fainter than previous efforts. By using two colors we can get a statistical estimate of albedos, an aid for determining the size- frequency distribution. \it This project already has 3 guaranteed nights but requires 3 MORE nights either at KPNO in Mar-April OR at CTIO in May or July for success.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0164

noaoprop-help@noao.edu

Small NOAO Logo