Letter to the Editor
Kuiper Belt searches from the Palomar 5-m telescope
Brett Gladman 1 and
JJ Kavelaars 2
Received 3 September 1996 / Accepted 19 September 1996
Motivated by a desire to understand the size distributon of the Kuiper Belt, an observing program was conducted at the Mount Palomar 5-m telescope from 1994-1996. The observations consisted of follow-up observations of known objects (in order to improve their very indeterminate orbits), and deep exposures on a single field to search for small objects below the limiting magnitudes of other surveys. Eighteen object recoveries were successfully obtained over the course of the follow-up program. Data reduction of the deep fields consisted of a software recombination of many fields shifted at different angular rates in order to detect objects at differing heliocentric distances. We set an upper limit of <1 object per 0.05 square degrees in the ecliptic brighter than magnitude . The lack of detected objects in this work serves to help constrain the number density of Kuiper Belt comets.
Key words: Kuiper Belt outer solar system Trans-Neptunian objects
© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997