Keywords

Asteroids, yarkovsky, neos, cdd pictures, mysql database, diurnal effect, retrograde, prograde, obliquity, thermal force, thermal delay, horizons, seasonal effect

Abstract

The identification of known asteroids on existing CCD pictures would allow us to obtain accurate astrometric and photometric asteroid properties. Some asteroids might have ambiguous orbital elements, thus their identification along with their exact positions on multiple picture frames could significantly improve their orbital elements. Furthermore, the possibility of identifying known asteroids on older pictures, sometimes preceding their discovery date, might allow the study of non-gravitational effects like the Yarkovsky effect. Identifying a potential Yarkovsky effect on asteroids is challenging because it is extremely weak. However, this effect cumulates with time, therefore, it is necessary to find astronomical pictures that are as old as possible. In addition, we need to collect high quality CCD pictures and use a methodology that would allow obtaining a statistically significant sample of asteroids. To accomplish this, we decided to use the online archive of the Subaru telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii because it has a prime-focus camera with a very high resolution of 80 millions pixels very well suited to capture serendipitous asteroids. In addition, the Subaru online archive has pictures from the last 10 years. iv The methodology used in this thesis is to build a database that contains the orbital elements of all the known asteroids, allowing us to write a program that calculates the approximate position of all the asteroids at the date and time of each CCD picture we collect. To obtain a more precise position, the program also interfaces the JPL NASA Horizons on-line computation service. Every time an asteroid is found on a picture, Horizons sends its theoretical location back to the program. A later visual identification of this asteroid at this theoretical location on the picture triggers its input into our sample for further study. This method allowed us to visually confirm 508 distinct asteroids on 692 frames with an average diameter of 3.6 km. Finally, we use the theory (given in appendix A) to calculate the theoretical drift of these asteroids that we compare with the one we measured on the CCD pictures.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2012

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Fernandez, Yanga

Degree

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Physics

Degree Program

Physics

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004299

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004299

Language

English

Release Date

May 2012

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Physics Commons

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