RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Tuesday, 16 December 2014, 11:00-12:00; Duffield Lecture Theatre

Michele Bannister

"Mapping the Deep: First Discoveries from the Outer Solar System Origins Survey"

The exploration of the outer Solar System has reached an exciting point: we are now beginning to understand its dynamical structure, sculpted into existence by giant planet migration in the early history of the Solar System. We have designed a survey using 560 hours of Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) time over four years to provide hundreds of new trans-Neptunian objects with exquisitely characterised, high-precision orbits. This new wide-field optical survey began observations with CFHT MegaPrime in February 2013, and by its conclusion in 2016 aims to have doubled the number of trans-Neptunian objects suitable for testing models of Solar System history. In April, we were granted a four-year Large Program of 386 hours on Gemini North to measure the broad-band colours of the brightest OSSOS discoveries. These optical and near-IR observations are designed to allow us to disentangle the complex interplay between the compositions of planetesimals as they form in the disk, and the later evolutionary processes that act on their icy surfaces.