NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0253

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Proposal Information for 2001A-0253


PI: Robert L. Millis, Lowell Observatory, rlm@lowell.edu
Address: 1400 W. Mars Hill Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86001

CoI: Marc W. Buie, Lowell Observatory
CoI: R. Mark Wagner, Ohio State University
CoI: James L. Elliot, MIT
CoI: Lawrence H. Wasserman, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Susan D. Kern, MIT

Title: Discovery of Faint Kuiper Belt Objects with the MOSIAC Cameras

Abstract: In the past decade, a whole new populated region of the Solar System has been discovered beyond the orbit of Neptune. Commonly referred to as the Kuiper Belt, this zone, extending to as-yet-unknown distances from the sun, contains tens of thousands of icy primordial bodies. The Kuiper Belt is believed to be the source region of short-period comets and is likely the analogue in our Solar System of circumstellar dust disks seen around certain other stars. Moreover, the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) hold valuable clues to the dynamical and physical evolution of the outer solar system. Since 1998, we have conducted a survey of the content, dimensions, and structure of the Kuiper Belt using the Mosaic Cameras at KPNO and CTIO. To date, we have discovered 149 KBOs and Centaurs (including several objects bright enough to permit detailed physical studies), we have found evidence that the dynamical properties of the KBOs are considerably more complex than originally predicted, and we have discovered a number of particularly interesting objects including one (2000CR105) whose orbit takes it to approximately 675 AU from the Sun. In this proposal, we request time in semester 2001A to continue our survey of the Kuiper Belt at the national observatories.


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



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