Search for small trans-Neptunian objects by the TAOS project

W. P. Chen, C. Alcock, T. Axelrod, F. B. Bianco, Y. I. Byun, Y. H. Chang, K. H. Cook, R. Dave, J. Giammarco, D. W. Kim, S. K. King, T. Lee, M. Lehner, C. C. Lin, H. C. Lin, J. J. Lissauer, S. Marshall, N. Meinshausen, S. Mondal, I. De PaterR. Porrata, J. Rice, M. E. Schwamb, A. Wang, S. Y. Wang, C. Y. Wen, Z. W. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The Taiwan-America Occultation Survey (TAOS) aims to determine the number of small icy bodies in the outer reach of the Solar System by means of stellar occultation. An array of 4 robotic small (D=0.5 m), wide-field (f/1.9) telescopes have been installed at Lulin Observatory in Taiwan to simultaneously monitor some thousand of stars for such rare occultation events. Because a typical occultation event by a TNO a few km across will last for only a fraction of a second, fast photometry is necessary. A special CCD readout scheme has been devised to allow for stellar photometry taken a few times per second. Effective analysis pipelines have been developed to process stellar light curves and to correlate any possible flux changes among all telescopes. A few billion photometric measurements have been collected since the routine survey began in early 2005. Our preliminary result of a very low detection rate suggests a deficit of small TNOs down to a few km size, consistent with the extrapolation of some recent studies of larger (30100 km) TNOs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-68
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Volume2
Issue numberS236
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The NCU group acknowledges the NSC grant 95-2119-M-008-028. KHC’s work was performed under the auspices of the US DOE, by the University of California, LLNL under contract No. W-7405-Eng-48.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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