Toward Efficient Detection of Small Near-Earth Asteroids Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)

July 2019 • 2019PASP..131g8002Y

Authors • Ye, Quanzhi • Masci, Frank J. • Lin, Hsing Wen • Bolin, Bryce • Chang, Chan-Kao • Duev, Dmitry A. • Helou, George • Ip, Wing-Huen • Kaplan, David L. • Kramer, Emily • Mahabal, Ashish • Ngeow, Chow-Choong • Nielsen, Avery J. • Prince, Thomas A. • Tan, Hanjie • Yeh, Ting-Shuo • Bellm, Eric C. • Dekany, Richard • Giomi, Matteo • Graham, Matthew J. • Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. • Kupfer, Thomas • Laher, Russ R. • Rusholme, Ben • Shupe, David L. • Ward, Charlotte

Abstract • We describe ZStreak, a semi-real-time pipeline specialized in detecting small, fast-moving, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), which is currently operating on the data from the newly commissioned Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) survey. Based on a prototype originally developed by Waszczak et al. (2017) for the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), the predecessor of ZTF, ZStreak features an improved machine-learning model that can cope with the 10× data rate increment between PTF and ZTF. Since its first discovery on 2018 February 5 (2018 CL), ZTF/ZStreak has discovered 45 confirmed new NEAs over a total of 232 observable nights until 2018 December 31. Most of the discoveries are small NEAs, with diameters less than ∼100 m. By analyzing the discovery circumstances, we find that objects having the first to last detection time interval under 2 hr are at risk of being lost. We will further improve real-time follow-up capabilities, and work on suppressing false positives using deep learning.


IPAC Authors

George Helou

IPAC Executive Director

Ben Rusholme

Chief Engineer

Dave Shupe

Senior Scientist