NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0536

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Program Information for 2013B-0536


PI: Lori Allen, NOAO, lallen@noao.edu
Address: 950 N Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719 USA

CoI: David E Trilling, Northern Arizona U.
CoI: Francisco Valdes, NOAO
CoI: Cesar Fuentes, Northern Arizona U.
CoI: Eric Christensen, Lunar and Planetary Lab
CoI: Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology
CoI: Tim Axelrod, LSST
CoI: Brian Burt, Northern Arizona U.
CoI: Alissa Earle, Siena College
CoI: David James, CTIO
CoI: David Herrera, NOAO
CoI: Stephen M Larson, Lunar and Planetary Lab

Title: The DECam NEO Survey

Abstract: Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets whose perihelion distance is less than 1.3 AU. Current estimates suggest that large NEOs (diameter 140m or more) impact the earth every few thousand years on average. Smaller asteroids (30m-50m) are believed to impact the earth with an average frequency of $\sim$100 years, but this estimate is highly uncertain, based in part on an incomplete understanding of the size distribution of NEOs below 100m. Until now, it has not been possible to measure the size distribution of these objects, because large-aperture telescopes have not been equipped with very wide-field imagers. Now, the large etendue of DECam+Blanco allows us to probe a previously unexplored region of NEO parameter space and therefore hazard space. We propose the DECam NEO Survey, which will yield thousands of newly discovered moving objects, most of which are fainter than the faintest NEOs detected by existing surveys. The size distribution of these small objects informs our understanding of the evolutionary processes they endure in near-Earth space and the physical properties of small asteroids. The data will also be used to search for distant Sedna- like bodies, which may offer clues to the formation environment of our solar system.

Program Type: Survey

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2014A):  CT-4m/DECam -- 10n on Apr 22 - May 01 2014
Run 1 (2015A):  CT-4m/DECam -- 10n on Apr 17 - Apr 21 2015, May 19 - May 23 2015
Run 1 (2016A):  CT-4m/DECam -- 10n on Mar 27 - Mar 31 2016, Apr 30 - May 04 2016


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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