NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2004B-0379

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Proposal Information for 2004B-0379


PI: Eugene Chiang, UC Berkeley, echiang@astron.berkeley.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 601 Campbell Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

CoI: Larry Wasserman, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Marc Buie, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Jessica Lovering, UC Berkeley
CoI: David Trilling, University of Arizona

Title: Astrometric Reconnaisance of the Kuiper Belt

Abstract: The Kuiper Belt comprises tens of thousands of asteroid-sized bodies orbiting beyond Neptune. Orbital elements of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) preserve the record of dynamical processes that molded the outer primordial circumsolar disk. We propose to obtain badly needed astrometry on ~120 KBO candidates having 22 \lesssim R \lesssim 24 and positional uncertainties of between 2 and 25 arcminutes using the Mayall 4-m telescope fitted with the wide-field MOSAIC imager. Many of these objects were discovered with 4-m class telescopes under darkest observing conditions; their recovery demands use of the same (or higher) class instrument under similar observing conditions. The proposed observations will permit substantial improvement of the orbits of these bodies. Accurate orbits for a large sample of KBOs enables identification of recently proposed collisional families, constrains the primordial migration rates of the giant planets, and directly probes the outer boundary of the ancient solar nebula. All recoveries and astrometric measurements resulting from this investigation will be immediately disseminated to the community via Minor Planet Electronic Circulars and posted on the Lowell Observatory web site.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2004B-0379

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