NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2004A-0273

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Proposal Information for 2004A-0273


PI: Joel Parker, Southwest Research Institute, joel@boulder.swri.edu
Address: Department of Space Studies, Suite 400, 1050 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302, USA

CoI: Lynne Allen, University of British Columbia
CoI: Brett Gladman, University of British Columbia
CoI: Carl Hergenrother, LPL/University of Arizona
CoI: J. J. Kavelaars, National Research Council Canada
CoI: Jean-Marc Petit, Obs. des Sciences de l'Univers de Besancon

Title: The Kuiper Belt Legacy Project: Recoveries

Abstract: To advance our understanding of the Kuiper belt, the region of the solar system extending beyond 30 AU, we have identified three core issues: [i] Well-determined orbital elements of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) are essential for providing an accurate view of the Kuiper belt's physical properties such as dynamics, formation, and structure; [ii] A program of dedicated recovery observations of TNOs is absolutely necessary to obtain an unbiased collection of objects with well- determined orbital elements; and [iii] Such recoveries are most effective when they are coupled to a discovery program which is well understood and characterized. To address all those issues, the NOAO project we propose here is to make recovery observations of TNOs discovered by the new CFHT Legacy Survey (CFHTLS), and is an important part (roughly half) of a coordinated and integrated international recovery effort. The resulting well-characterized database of ~1300 TNOs will allow us and other researchers to determine the dynamical structure and distribution of the Kuiper belt, identify intriguing objects for further observations and analysis, and provide accurate orbital elements so that objects will not be lost for subsequent physical study. Our ultimate goal is to understand and map out the formation history of the outer solar system.


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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