Bright Kuiper Belt Objects
D. Jewitt (Univ. Hawaii), J. Luu (Harvard Univ.), C. Trujillo, J. Chen (Univ. Hawaii)
Recent sky surveys have established the existence of a vast population
of trans-Neptunian bodies, collectively known as Kuiper Belt Objects
(KBOs). The cumulative sky-plane surface density of these objects
reaches about 1 per sq. degree at magnitude 23. Brighter objects are
comparatively rare, demanding observing strategies different from
those employed in previous surveys. Accordingly, we are conducting a
new wide field survey with the UH 8192x8192 pixel CCD camera that is
designed to assess the abundance of bright KBOs (red magnitude <23). This survey serves two main scientific functions. First, it
allows us to determine the size distribution to diameters intermediate
between those of the established KBOs and Pluto. Second, it provides
a sample of KBOs bright enough for detailed physical observations.
Initial results of this survey will be discussed.