Searching for extreme asteroids in the PanSTARRS Survey
Science from the Pan-STARRS1 Surveys and opportunities from the public data release
Andrew McNeill
Alan Fitzsimmons, Robert Jedicke, Eva Schunova
Queen's University Belfast
Existing light curve data for asteroids shows that almost all objects with D > 200m rotate at a spin period shorter than 2.2 hours (Warner et al. 2009). This corresponds to the critical spin rate for a strengthless body and has been taken as evidence that small objects (0.2 < D < 10km) exist as rubble piles rather than single coherent bodies.

In recent years two objects have been discovered which do not follow this behaviour, instead rotating much more quickly (Pravec et al 2002, Chang et al 2014). These are referred to as Super Fast Rotators. It is expected that further objects with similarly short rotation periods will display extremely variable light curves.

In recent years, several contact binary systems have been discovered among small body populations in the Solar System (Sheppard & Jewitt 2004, Lacerda, McNeill & Peixinho 2014). These objects will also display extremely variable light curves.

Using photometric results from the PanSTARRS survey for main belt asteroids contained in the Moving Object Processing System database (Denneau et al. 2013) we have identified a series of objects showing unusually large variations in magnitude. We have carried out further observations of the identified objects with a view to finding evidence that these large variations correspond to extreme asteroids. This will potentially lead to the discovery of a series of new Super Fast Rotators and/or contact binary asteroids.

Initial results from this search will be presented.
09:00 - 10:30