DIX Planetary Science Seminar
The trans-Neptunian region is a reservoir of small bodies in the distant Solar System, with about 4000 members currently known. These trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) are remnants from planetary formation, and their orbits, sizes, surface colors and shapes trace the history of our Solar System. I will present results of a search conducted on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) data, leading to a catalog of 800+ objects that composes the largest catalog of trans-Neptunian colors and light curve amplitudes to date as well as the discovery of the largest Oort cloud comet. I will contextualize the observed properties of these two samples with our understanding of the outer Solar System, and describe a new statistical model that can account for the bulk of the color, lightcurve amplitude and size distributions of trans-Neptunian objects. I will conclude by discussing the current DECam Ecliptic Exploration Project, a deep survey that aims to find thousands of small TNOs, and the upcoming Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time, expected to increase this population by a factor of 10.