A serendipitous all sky survey for bright objects in the outer solar system


We use seven year’s worth of observations from the Catalina Sky Survey and the Siding Spring Survey covering most of the northern and southern hemisphere at galactic latitudes higher than 20 degrees to search for serendipitously imaged moving objects in the outer solar system. These slowly moving objects would appear as stationary transients in these fast cadence asteroids surveys, so we develop methods to discover objects in the outer solar system using individual observations spaced by months, rather than spaced by hours, as is typically done. While we independently discover 8 known bright objects in the outer solar system, the faintest having $V=19.8pm0.1$, no new objects are discovered. We find that the survey is nearly 100% efficient at detecting objects beyond 25 AU for $Vlesssim 19.1$ ($Vlesssim18.6$ in the southern hemisphere) and that the probability that there is one or more remaining outer solar system object of this brightness left to be discovered in the unsurveyed regions of the galactic plane is approximately 32%.