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The Caltech Wide Area Sky Survey

Trujillo, C. A. and Brown, M. E. (2003) The Caltech Wide Area Sky Survey. Earth Moon and Planets, 92 (1-4). pp. 99-112. ISSN 0167-9295. doi:10.1023/B:MOON.0000031929.19729.a1.

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The first phase of the Caltech Wide Area Sky Survey occurred from late November 2001 through mid-April 2003. We present preliminary results from this survey which has detected 28 bright Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and 4 Centaurs, 19 of which were discovered in our survey including Quaoar, the largest KBO, as well as 6 of the 10 intrinsically brightest KBOs. We have surveyed 5108 square degrees of the sky nearest the invariable plane to a limiting red magnitude of 20.7. Correcting for the overabundance of objects near the invariable plane, this represents 27% completeness in terms of KBO numbers. Thus, approximately 100 KBOs and Centaurs brighter than m_R = 20.7 exist, about 3/4 of which remain undiscovered. The bright KBOs are consistent with the canonical q = 4 size distribution, suggesting that about ten 1000 km diameter KBOs and about one 2000 km diameter KBO exist. Additionally, we observe only 3 KBOs with low inclination (i < 7 degrees) with 67% of the sky available to these objects surveyed. This is in sharp contrast with the known KBOs, of which about 60% of the ∼ 800 observed objects (as of May 2003) have i < 7 degrees. Although we observe at systematically higher invariable plane latitudes than many deeper KBO surveys, such systematic biases cannot fully explain the lack of low inclination objects, a measurement which is significant at the > 3σ level. This suggests that the bright KBOs have a fundamentally different maximum size than the fainter KBOs. A better characterization of the survey limiting magnitude and a more thorough modeling of observational bias effects of different classes of KBOs will be made in a future work.

Item Type:Article
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Brown, M. E.0000-0002-8255-0545
Additional Information:© 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. We thank Ken Lawrence for adding our observations to the queue on a daily basis and the NEAT Team for their sanction of the KBO project. We thank Skip Staples, Karl Dunscombe and Kevin Rykoski for help at the Palomar 60-inch telescope and Mike Bradshaw for tranportation to and from Palomar Observatory.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Issue or Number:1-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121016-141538555
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Official Citation:The Caltech Wide Area Sky Survey C. A. Trujillo and M. E. Brown 99-112
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34931
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Oct 2012 21:55
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:11

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