Discovering Earth’s transient moons with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

Grigori Fedorets, Mikael Granvik, R. Lynne Jones, Mario Jurić, Robert Jedicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Earth’s temporarily-captured orbiters (TCOs) are a sub-population of near-Earth objects (NEOs). TCOs can provide constraints for NEO population models in the 1–10-metre-diameter range, and they are outstanding targets for in situ exploration of asteroids due to a low requirement on Δv. So far there has only been a single serendipitous discovery of a TCO. Here we assess in detail the possibility of their discovery with the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), previously identified as the primary facility for such discoveries. We simulated observations of TCOs by combining a synthetic TCO population with an LSST survey simulation. We then assessed the detection rates, detection linking and orbit computation, and sources for confusion. Typical velocities of detectable TCOs will range from 1∘/day to 50∘/day, and typical apparent V magnitudes from 21 to 23. Potentially-hazardous asteroids have observational characteristics similar to TCOs, but the two populations can be distinguished based on their orbits with LSST data alone. We predict that a TCO can be discovered once every year with the baseline moving-object processing system (MOPS). The rate can be increased to one TCO discovery every two months if tools complementary to the baseline MOPS are developed for the specific purpose of discovering these objects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIcarus
Volume338
ISSN0019-1035
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 115 Astronomy, Space science

Cite this

Fedorets, Grigori ; Granvik, Mikael ; Jones, R. Lynne ; Jurić, Mario ; Jedicke, Robert. / Discovering Earth’s transient moons with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. In: Icarus. 2020 ; Vol. 338.
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abstract = "Earth’s temporarily-captured orbiters (TCOs) are a sub-population of near-Earth objects (NEOs). TCOs can provide constraints for NEO population models in the 1–10-metre-diameter range, and they are outstanding targets for in situ exploration of asteroids due to a low requirement on Δv. So far there has only been a single serendipitous discovery of a TCO. Here we assess in detail the possibility of their discovery with the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), previously identified as the primary facility for such discoveries. We simulated observations of TCOs by combining a synthetic TCO population with an LSST survey simulation. We then assessed the detection rates, detection linking and orbit computation, and sources for confusion. Typical velocities of detectable TCOs will range from 1∘/day to 50∘/day, and typical apparent V magnitudes from 21 to 23. Potentially-hazardous asteroids have observational characteristics similar to TCOs, but the two populations can be distinguished based on their orbits with LSST data alone. We predict that a TCO can be discovered once every year with the baseline moving-object processing system (MOPS). The rate can be increased to one TCO discovery every two months if tools complementary to the baseline MOPS are developed for the specific purpose of discovering these objects.",
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Discovering Earth’s transient moons with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. / Fedorets, Grigori; Granvik, Mikael; Jones, R. Lynne; Jurić, Mario; Jedicke, Robert.

In: Icarus, Vol. 338, 03.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Discovering Earth’s transient moons with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

AU - Fedorets, Grigori

AU - Granvik, Mikael

AU - Jones, R. Lynne

AU - Jurić, Mario

AU - Jedicke, Robert

PY - 2020/3

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N2 - Earth’s temporarily-captured orbiters (TCOs) are a sub-population of near-Earth objects (NEOs). TCOs can provide constraints for NEO population models in the 1–10-metre-diameter range, and they are outstanding targets for in situ exploration of asteroids due to a low requirement on Δv. So far there has only been a single serendipitous discovery of a TCO. Here we assess in detail the possibility of their discovery with the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), previously identified as the primary facility for such discoveries. We simulated observations of TCOs by combining a synthetic TCO population with an LSST survey simulation. We then assessed the detection rates, detection linking and orbit computation, and sources for confusion. Typical velocities of detectable TCOs will range from 1∘/day to 50∘/day, and typical apparent V magnitudes from 21 to 23. Potentially-hazardous asteroids have observational characteristics similar to TCOs, but the two populations can be distinguished based on their orbits with LSST data alone. We predict that a TCO can be discovered once every year with the baseline moving-object processing system (MOPS). The rate can be increased to one TCO discovery every two months if tools complementary to the baseline MOPS are developed for the specific purpose of discovering these objects.

AB - Earth’s temporarily-captured orbiters (TCOs) are a sub-population of near-Earth objects (NEOs). TCOs can provide constraints for NEO population models in the 1–10-metre-diameter range, and they are outstanding targets for in situ exploration of asteroids due to a low requirement on Δv. So far there has only been a single serendipitous discovery of a TCO. Here we assess in detail the possibility of their discovery with the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), previously identified as the primary facility for such discoveries. We simulated observations of TCOs by combining a synthetic TCO population with an LSST survey simulation. We then assessed the detection rates, detection linking and orbit computation, and sources for confusion. Typical velocities of detectable TCOs will range from 1∘/day to 50∘/day, and typical apparent V magnitudes from 21 to 23. Potentially-hazardous asteroids have observational characteristics similar to TCOs, but the two populations can be distinguished based on their orbits with LSST data alone. We predict that a TCO can be discovered once every year with the baseline moving-object processing system (MOPS). The rate can be increased to one TCO discovery every two months if tools complementary to the baseline MOPS are developed for the specific purpose of discovering these objects.

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