NOAO/Steward Observatory Joint Colloquium: Mapping the Universe in Search of Nearby Worlds

Dr. Aaron Meisner, LBNL
Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 3:30pm
Steward Observatory, Room #N210

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has already provided a
spectacular new view of the Universe, and continues observing to this
day. By now, over 75% of archival WISE imaging at 3-5 microns has been
acquired via an ongoing asteroid-hunting mission extension called
NEOWISE. I am leading a wide-ranging, data-intensive effort to
repurpose NEOWISE images for science beyond the inner solar system, by
building the deepest ever full-sky maps at 3-5 microns. These coadded
maps and their time domain variants have extremely broad implications,
from nearby substellar objects to upcoming constraints on dark energy.
I will describe my progress in mining my novel WISE coadds via a new
generation of deep mid-infrared motion surveys, highlighting 1) the
Backyard Worlds citizen science project, which is filling in the solar
neighborhood census of cold brown dwarfs not detectable with Gaia, and
2) my searches for 'Planet Nine’, which have yielded the deepest and
widest WISE-based constraints on the possible mid-infrared brightness
of this hypothesized planet in our own solar system.