Exploring the outer solar system with the ESSENCE Supernova Survey Academic Article uri icon


  • We report the discovery and orbital determination of 14 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) from the ESSENCE Supernova Survey difference imaging data set. Two additional objects discovered in a similar search of the SDSS-II Supernova Survey database were recovered in this effort. ESSENCE repeatedly observed fields far from the solar system ecliptic (-21 < < -5), reaching limiting magnitudes per observation of I 23.1 and R 23.7. We examine several of the newly detected objects in detail, including 2003 UC 414, which orbits entirely between Uranus and Neptune and lies very close to a dynamical region that would make it stable for the lifetime of the solar system. 2003 SS422 and 2007 TA418 have high eccentricities and large perihelia, making them candidate members of an outer class of TNOs. We also report a new member of the "extended" or "detached" scattered disk, 2004 VN112, and verify the stability of its orbit using numerical simulations. This object would have been visible to ESSENCE for only 2% of its orbit, suggesting a vast number of similar objects across the sky. We emphasize that off-ecliptic surveys are optimal for uncovering the diversity of such objects, which in turn will constrain the history of gravitational influences that shaped our early solar system. 2008. The American Astronomical Society.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Becker, A. C., Arraki, K., Kaib, N. A., Wood-Vasey, W. M., Aguilera, C., Blackman, J. W., ... Zenteno, A.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Becker, AC||Arraki, K||Kaib, NA||Wood-Vasey, WM||Aguilera, C||Blackman, JW||Blondin, S||Challis, P||Clocchiatti, A||Covarrubias, R||Damke, G||Davis, TM||Filippenko, AV||Foley, RJ||Garg, A||Garnavich, PM||Hicken, M||Jha, S||Kirshner, RP||Krisciunas, K||Leibundgut, B||Li, W||Matheson, T||Miceli, A||Miknaitis, G||Narayan, G||Pignata, G||Prieto, JL||Rest, A||Riess, AG||Salvo, ME||Schmidt, BP||Smith, RC||Sollerman, J||Spyromilio, J||Stubbs, CW||Suntzeff, NB||Tonry, JL||Zenteno, A

publication date

  • June 2008