NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0405

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0405


PI: Robert S. McMillan, University of Arizona, bob@lpl.arizona.edu
Address: Lunar and Planetary Lab. and Steward Observatory, 1629 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85721-0092, USA

CoI: Amy Mainzer, JPL/CalTech
CoI: Joseph R. Masiero, JPL/CalTech
CoI: Jeffrey A. Larsen, U. S. Naval Academy
CoI: James V. Scotti, University of Arizona

Title: Astrometric Search and Recovery of Asteroids and Comets Discovered by WISE

Abstract: Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) time is requested to recover and do astrometry and photometry on short notice of carefully selected asteroids, comets, and suspected comets freshly discovered by WISE. The WISE all-sky thermal infrared survey is uncovering darker albedos and more extreme orbital inclinations of solar system objects than expected. More of the rare and newly discovered category of main belt comets may also be found. We want to understand what these outliers are, as they may represent hitherto unexplored populations and may reveal characteristics of the evolution of the solar system not yet recognized. To do this, the infrared fluxes measured by WISE should be supplemented with measurements of reflectivity in visible light, rotation periods, multicolor photometry, spectroscopy, and polarimetry to characterize sizes, mineralogy, surface properties, and shapes. Such campaigns require the orbits of the newly discovered objects to be known well enough to recover the objects on return apparitions as much as years later. Our proposed astrometry will consolidate knowledge of orbital elements and provide visual magnitudes to plan further ground-based observations.


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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