NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0122

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0122


PI: Michael E. Brown, Caltech, mbrown@caltech.edu
Address: Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Mail Stop 150-21, Pasadena, CA 91125, United States

CoI: Michele T. Bannister, ANU/Caltech

Title: Icy Dwarf Planets in the Southern Skies

Abstract: The new SkyMapper 1.4 m wide-field telescope of the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, located at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia, will perform a six- colour, multi-epoch survey of 20,000 square degrees of the Southern Hemisphere sky. This survey will begin at the start of 2009. An intentional side product of the survey, which is primarily designed to study stellar and Galactic astrophysics, will be the detection of a modest number of potential new icy dwarf planets. With no wide-field survey for bright outer Solar System objects ever having been successfully performed in the southern hemisphere, the potential for spectacular discovery is high. While SkyMapper will detect potential candidates, confirmation and orbital determination of these objects requires several astrometric followup observations in the ~60 day period after discovery. As part of our collaboration with the SkyMapper team, we propose to implement this follow up with TOO queue scheduled observations on the 1.3 m \textscsmarts telescope. The TOO/queue scheduled nature of the telescope allows us the necessary flexibility of obtaining observations with the appropriate timing constraints to be able to follow these randomly occurring detections.


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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