SAFARI: Searching asteroids for activity revealing indicators

Colin Orion Chandler, Anthony M. Curtis, Michael Mommert, Scott S. Sheppard, Chadwick A. Trujillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Active asteroids behave dynamically like asteroids but display comet-like comae. These objects are poorly understood, with only about 30 identified to date. We have conducted one of the deepest systematic searches for asteroid activity by making use of deep images from the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) ideally suited to the task. We looked for activity indicators among 11,703 unique asteroids extracted from 35,640 images. We detected three previously identified active asteroids ((62412), (1) Ceres and (779) Nina), though only (62412) showed signs of activity. Our activity occurrence rate of 1 in 11,703 is consistent with the prevailing 1 in 10,000 activity occurrence rate estimate. Our proof of concept demonstrates (1) our novel informatics approach can locate active asteroids and (2) DECam data are well-suited to the search for active asteroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114501
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number993
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Asteroids: General – Techniques: image processing
  • Methods: Analytical – Minor planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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