Search for Small Trans-Neptunian Objects by the TAOS Project

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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 ... continued below

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4 pages

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Chen, Wen-Ping; Alcock, C.; Axelrod, T.; Bianco, F.B.; Byun, Y.I.; Chang, Y.H. et al. December 4, 2006.

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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 (30-100 km) TNOs.

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4 pages

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  • Journal Name: Submitted to IAU Symp.; Conference: To appear in the proceedings of IAU Symposium 236: Near Earth Objects, our Celestial Neighbors: Opportunity and Risk, Prague, Czech Republic, 14-18 Aug 2006

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-12216
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 896172
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc891153

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  • December 4, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 10:51 p.m.

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Chen, Wen-Ping; Alcock, C.; Axelrod, T.; Bianco, F.B.; Byun, Y.I.; Chang, Y.H. et al. Search for Small Trans-Neptunian Objects by the TAOS Project, article, December 4, 2006; [Menlo Park, California]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc891153/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.