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The APO-PSI TNO Survey

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Gil
Esquerdo (PSI)

We introduce a joint program of Apache Point Observatory and the Planetary Science Institute to search for large Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) during bright time with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 0.5m photometric monitor telescope (PT). Theoretical models as well as previous surveys for TNOs point to the probable existence of large, undiscovered bodies in the outer solar system. The discovery of three notable large objects, (50000) Quaoar, 2004 DV, and most recently 2003 VB12 (proposed name, "Sedna") support this indication. As large, distant objects appear relatively bright, the small aperture and large field of view of the SDSS PT are well suited for this work. We discuss survey design and search strategy along with early results since the start of survey operations in May 2003.

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