PI: Aren Heinze, Stony Brook University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Physics Department, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800, USA
Title: Deep, Digital-Tracking Observations: A Powerful Probe of the Dynamics of Faint Asteroids
Abstract: We propose a deep survey that will discover about 200 main belt asteroids and measure their orbits. This survey will be the first to apply digital tracking to detect extremely faint asteroids with a relatively small telescope. We will attain magnitude limits of R ~ 24.5, comparable to the most sensitive surveys to date, but will use a smaller telescope and obtain more accurate orbits. Our survey will probe the dynamical mechanisms responsible for the continual replenishing of near-earth asteroids from the main belt, shed light on collisional processes in the asteroid belt, and clarify a discrepancy between two other deep surveys as to the sky density of faint asteroids. In addition to these immediate results, our survey will serve as a pilot project for a future survey on a larger telescope, which will use the same techniques to find asteroids fainter than have ever been imaged before. The current survey, unlike all previous surveys to comparable depths, will also obtain orbits with accuracy sufficient to allow follow- up observations spanning months and years. These will enable very precise orbit determinations and further dynamical studies, which may include direct measurements of the Yarkovsky effect in the main belt.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360