Solar System

DiRAC Solar System group strives to understand the structure, evolution and formation of the Solar System, enable effective Planetary Defense, and support opportunities for exploitation of resources in the Solar System.

We study the Solar System through novel data and computationally intensive research techniques, and apply them to large survey projects that explore it.

The projects we’re presently working on include:

  • KBMOD: Next-generation GPU-accelerated “shift-and-stack” algorithms for detection of extremely faint objects
  • Moving Object Processing System: We are developing the algorithms and software to identify asteroids and Kuiper belt objects in optical surveys, starting with the Zwicky Transient Facility (now), culminating with the LSST in 2022 — the largest optical survey ever undertaken.
  • Analysis and Optimization of LSST’s Solar System science: Our group is the lead for developing software and observing strategies enabling LSST’s Solar System science.
  • ADAM at UW: A broad collaboration with the B612 Asteroid Institute in contributing to development of the Asteroid Institute’s ADAM project, to understanding what to expect for Planetary Defense in the age of LSST.

We are heavily involved in two major survey programs:

  • The Zwicky Transient Facility, a rapid time-domain survey of the Northern Sky
  • The Simonyi Survey Telescope, the largest optical survey ever undertaken, where we lead the Solar System algorithms and data effort.

Core Team

  • Faculty: Andy Connolly, Zeljko Ivezic, Mario Juric (lead)
  • DiRAC Senior Fellows: Ed Lu (Asteroid Institute; AI)
  • DiRAC Fellows: Sarah Greenstreet (AI Postdoc), Lynne Jones, Colin Slater, Bryce Kalmbach
  • Graduate Students: Joachim Moeyens, Hayden Smotherman
  • Undergraduates: Peter Whidden