TA: Outer Solar System

The CfA has joined the Pan-STARRS-1 Science Consortium. Pan-STARRS-1 is a 1.8m aperture telescope located on Haleakala. Its 1.4 gigapixel, 7 square degree camera will repeatedly image the entire sky north -30 degrees declination. Roughly 60% of the observing time of the PS1 telescope will be dedicated to the "3pi steradian" survey with an observing cadence that is optimized for the detection of near-Earth asteroids and slow-moving solar system bodies. Over the course of its 3.5 year science mission, this unprecedented survey will discover nearly every asteroid, Trojan, Centaur, long-period comet, short-period comet, and trans-neptunian object brighter than magnitude r=23. This census will be used to address a large number of questions regarding the physical and dynamical properties of the various small body populations of the solar system. In addition, this survey will determine the population of large, distant, and rare members of the outer solar system and have the potential to detect planet-sized objects at great distances. The PS1 Outer Solar System key project team is led by Matthew Holman, Associate Director of the Theoretical Astrophysics Division.


Project Links

Pan-STARRS-1 Science Consortium
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)



Matthew J. Holman

  Outer Solar System

Animation of the discovery images of Uranus XX Stepano. Each image in the loop sequence of 3 images is an 8 minute exposure (are shown is approximately 20 seconds of arc on a side, or 300 000 kilometers at the distance of Uranus).The images were taken about 2 hours apart. The satellite is moving down and to the left on this image, other "moving" targets are cosmic rays (noise) and do not move in a fashion consistent with a satellite of Uranus.


Section Photo