We have developed a robust computer program that quickly and efficiently searches for moving objects in large-format CCD images. We describe the initial application of this program to a survey for Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) and Centaurs along the path of NASA's planned Pluto Express mission. Tests have been made to quantify our survey sensitivity, indicating an effective sky area of 2.22 deg2 searched to a limiting visual plus red "VR" magnitude of 23.1 and an effective area of 0.65 deg2 searched to a limiting VR magnitude of 23.5. The first data set consists of fields near the expected postrendezvous flight path of the Pluto Express mission, and analysis resulted in the detection of two KBO candidates. The second data set is from a region at higher Galactic latitude, and it produced a further two KBO candidates.
- Celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics
- Planets and satellites: individual (Pluto)
- Techniques: image processing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science