NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0288

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Program Information for 2016B-0288


PI: Scott Sheppard, Carnegie Institution of Washington, sheppard@dtm.ciw.edu
Address: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 Broad Branch Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20015 USA

CoI: Chad Trujillo, Gemini Observatory
CoI: David Tholen, U. of Hawaii

Title: Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects: Towards a Super-Earth in the Outer Solar System

Abstract: Sedna and our discovery, 2012 VP113, are the only objects with perihelia well beyond the Kuiper Belt edge. The strange origin of these objects can only be tested by finding more. Since 2012 we have been performing the largest and deepest survey ever for extreme objects. Our surprising result in 2014 was that the extreme Kuiper Belt objects, Sedna and VP113 are strangely grouped, which suggests an unobserved distant super-Earth is shepherding them into similar orbits. But the case for a super-Earth is far from secure as the clustering is based on very low number statistics that might have observational biases. A major key to prevent biases is to make sure a survey has uniform coverage. Our survey has mostly been in the South with some Northern observations in 2015. We propose to make our survey more uniform by continuing Southern observations with DECam and Northern observations with Subaru to discover extreme objects and possibly a super-Earth. This will allow us to strongly constrain theories and the super-Earth's orbit if it exists.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016B):  CT-4m/DECam -- 3n on Oct 05 - Oct 10 2016
Run 2 (2016B):  CT-4m/DECam -- 2.5n on Aug 31 - Sep 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



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0288

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