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Program Information for 2017B-0325


PI: Scott Sheppard, Carnegie Institution of Washington, sheppard@dtm.ciw.edu
Address: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 BROAD BRANCH ROAD, WASHINGTON, DC 20015-1305 USA

CoI: Chadwick Trujillo, Northern Arizona U.
CoI: David Tholen, U. of Hawaii

Title: Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects: Towards a Massive Planet in the Outer Solar System

Abstract: This is the same proposal as submitted by us for CTIO/DECam time, just with a Subaru Justification at the end. 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 Sedna, VP113 and other extreme objects are strangely grouped, which suggests an unobserved distant super-Earth to Neptune mass planet is shepherding them into similar orbits. But the case for a massive planet 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 and 2016. We propose to make our survey more uniform by going more Northernly with DECam using two new survey techniques and Northern observations with Subaru to discover extreme objects and possibly a planet. This will allow us to strongly constrain theories and the planet's orbit if it exists.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017B):  GEM-N/HSC -- 1.5n on Sep 15 - Sep 16 2017, Dec 22 2017


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 >   2017B-0325

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