The DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP). II. Observational Strategy and Design

Chadwick A. Trujillo, Cesar Fuentes, David W. Gerdes, Larissa Markwardt, Scott S. Sheppard, Ryder Strauss, Colin Orion Chandler, William J. Oldroyd, David E. Trilling, Hsing Wen Lin, Fred C. Adams, Pedro H. Bernardinelli, Matthew J. Holman, Mario Jurić, Andrew McNeill, Michael Mommert, Kevin J. Napier, Matthew J. Payne, Darin Ragozzine, Andrew S. RivkinHilke Schlichting, Hayden Smotherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We present the DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project (DEEP) survey strategy, including observing cadence for orbit determination, exposure times, field pointings and filter choices. The overall goal of the survey is to discover and characterize the orbits of a few thousand Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Blanco 4 m telescope. The experiment is designed to collect a very deep series of exposures totaling a few hours on sky for each of several 2.7 square degree DECam fields-of-view to achieve approximate depths of magnitude 26.2 using a wide V R filter that encompasses both the V and R bandpasses. In the first year, several nights were combined to achieve a sky area of about 34 square degrees. In subsequent years, the fields have been re-visited to allow TNOs to be tracked for orbit determination. When complete, DEEP will be the largest survey of the outer solar system ever undertaken in terms of newly discovered object numbers, and the most prolific at producing multiyear orbital information for the population of minor planets beyond Neptune at 30 au.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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