NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0085

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0085


PI: Joseph Masiero, JPL/Caltech, joseph.masiero@jpl.nasa.gov
Address: MS 264-767, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Amanda Mainzer, JPL/Caltech
CoI: James Bauer, JPL/Caltech
CoI: Tommy Grav, JHU
CoI: Robert McMillan, Univ. Arizona

Title: Faint, dark and small: a new population of near-Earth objects

Abstract: We propose to investigate a new population of dark near-Earth objects (NEOs) currently being discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft's all-sky survey. High precision optical measurements in conjunction with the WISE thermal fluxes are required to accurately determine the albedos and diameters of these bodies. Approximately one quarter of the NEOs discovered by WISE (at a rate of ~1per day) have had albedos p_V<0.05 and this does not include NEOs that were unable to be optically followed up due to their faintness. Only the Gemini telescopes, with their combination of large collecting area and queue-scheduled flexibility, can provide us with the resources needed to fully characterize the population of dark NEOs being found by WISE. We request Standard ToO time in both hemispheres to followup these dark NEOs, which will be triggered when a WISE-discovered NEO candidate (as defined by the Minor Planet Center) has an estimated V\ge22.


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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