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DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
Characterizing distant Solar System objects in the era of large scale surveys
Pedro Bernardinelli, DiRAC Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics & Cosmology, University of Washington,

The trans-Neptunian region is a reservoir of small bodies in the distant Solar System, with about 4000 members currently known. These trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) are remnants from planetary formation, and their orbits, sizes, surface colors and shapes trace the history of our Solar System. I will present results of a search conducted on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) data, leading to a catalog of 800+ objects that composes the largest catalog of trans-Neptunian colors and light curve amplitudes to date as well as the discovery of the largest Oort cloud comet. I will contextualize the observed properties of these two samples with our understanding of the outer Solar System, and describe a new statistical model that can account for the bulk of the color, lightcurve amplitude and size distributions of trans-Neptunian objects. I will conclude by discussing the current DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project, a deep survey that aims to find thousands of small TNOs, and the upcoming Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time, expected to increase this population by a factor of 10.

For more information, please contact Kim Paragas by phone at 626-395-6960 or by email at [email protected].