Mining the Kilo-Degree Survey for solar system objects

M. Mahlke, H. Bouy, B. Altieri, G. Verdoes Kleijn, B. Carry, E. Bertin, J. T. A. de Jong, K. Kuijken, J. McFarland, E. Valentijn. 2018. Mining the Kilo-Degree Survey for solar system objects. Astronomy and Astrophysics 610, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201730924

The search for minor bodies in the solar system promises insights into its formation history. Wide imaging surveys offer the opportunity to serendipitously discover and identify these traces of planetary formation and evolution.

Aims. We aim to present a method to acquire position, photometry, and proper motion measurements of solar system objects (SSOs) in surveys using dithered image sequences. The application of this method on the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS) is demonstrated.

Methods. Optical images of 346 deg(2) fields of the sky are searched in up to four filters using the AstrOmatic software suite to reduce the pixel to catalog data. The SSOs within the acquired sources are selected based on a set of criteria depending on their number of observation, motion, and size. The Virtual Observatory SkyBoT tool is used to identify known objects.

Results. We observed 20 221 SSO candidates, with an estimated false-positive content of less than 0.05%. Of these SSO candidates, 53.4% are identified by SkyBoT. KiDS can detect previously unknown SSOs because of its depth and coverage at high ecliptic latitude, including parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Thus we expect the large fraction of the 46.6% of unidentified objects to be truly new SSOs.

Conclusions. Our method is applicable to a variety of dithered surveys such as DES, LSST, and Euclid. It offers a quick and easy-to-implement search for SSOs. SkyBoT can then be used to estimate the completeness of the recovered sample.

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