|Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
|Conference ID :
|Solar system studies with the GROWTH-India Telescope
|Vishwajeet Swain, Kritti Sharma, Harsh Kumar, Subham Samantaray, Varun Bhalerao (IIT Bombay), Bryce Bolin (Caltech), Rigzin Norboo, Jigmat Stanzin, Urgain Stanzin, Dorje Angchuk, Padma Dorjay, Tsewang Stanzin, G C Anupama, Sudhanshu Barway (IIA)
|Abstract Category :
|Sun and the Solar System
|The GROWTH-India Telescope (GIT) is a wide-field fully autonomous telescope for time domain astronomy, set up as a part of the international “Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen” (GROWTH) network. One of the key science goals of GROWTH is the study of solar system objects - in particular, Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) that may disrupt human civilization. The GROWTH-India team works closely with international GROWTH partners to scan data from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) to identify new asteroids and report them to the Minor Planet Centre (MPC). NEOs move rapidly on the sky, and their sky positions can be quite uncertain. We leverage the 0.7 degree wide field of GIT to follow up NEOs discovered by ZTF or other groups - thereby confirming that the object is indeed a NEO and significantly improving their orbital information. In order to boost the signal from faint objects, GIT uses non-sidereal tracking such that the target remains a point source in the image, but stars become elongated streaks. We have developed an in-house pipeline called Astreaks, which can solve for photometry and astrometry in such images. We have confirmed more than one hundred NEOs with GIT observations, publishing minor planet electronic circulars (MPECs) for the same. In addition to this, the GIT team has also observed several asteroids, discovered outbursts in Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, participated in campaigns to measure the activity and rotation periods of asteroids, and more. We report on the solar system studies by GIT, and discuss future plans.