Moon, Hong-Kyu - The DEEP-SOUTH: Round-the-clock Physical Characterization of NEOs in the Southern Hemisphere

Abstract: 
Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute started a project to build a network of wide-field optical telescopes called the KMTNet (Korea Micro-lensing Telescope Network) in 2009. The KMTNet consists of three identical 1.6-m prime focus optics and 18K×18K mosaic CCD cameras that results in 2×2 degrees field of view with a delivered image quality less than 1.0 arcsec FWHM under atmospheric seeing of 0.75 arcsec. These telescopes will be located at CTIO in Chile, SAAO in South Africa, and SSO in Australia. This network of telescopes will be partly used for “Deep Ecliptic Patrol of the Southern Sky (DEEP-SOUTH)” as a one of such secondary science projects. The three stations are longitudinally well separated, and hence will have a benefit of 24-hour continuous monitoring of the southern sky. The wide-field and round-the-clock operation capabilities of the facility are ideal for discovery and physical characterization of asteroids and comets. Based on time series observations with the KMTNet, orbits, absolute magnitudes (H), spin states, shapes and activity levels of asteroids and comets including NEOs will be systematically investigated at the same time. Their approximate surface mineralogy will also be discriminated using SDSS and Johnson Cousins BVRI colors. The first KMTNet telescope in CTIO will be put into operations in June 2014 and the whole network is expected to be on-line in late-2014.