The LCO Outbursting Objects Key Project: Overview and Year 1 Status

Lister, Tim; Kelley, Michael S. P.; Holt, Carrie E.; Hsieh, Henry H.; Bannister, Michele T.; A. Verma, Aayushi; Dobson, Matthew M.; Knight, Matthew M.; Moulane, Youssef; Schwamb, Megan E.; Bodewits, Dennis; Bauer, James; Chatelain, Joseph; Fernández-Valenzuela, Estela; Gardener, Daniel; Gyuk, Geza; Hammergren, Mark; Huynh, Ky; Jehin, Emmanuel; Kokotanekova, Rosita; Lilly, Eva; Hui, Man-To; McKay, Adam; Opitom, Cyrielle; Protopapa, Silvia; Ridden-Harper, Ryan; Schambeau, Charles; Snodgrass, Colin; Stoddard-Jones, Cai; Usher, Helen; Wierzchos, Kacper; Yanamandra-Fisher, Padma A.; Ye, Quanzhi; Gomez, Edward and Greenstreet, Sarah (2022). The LCO Outbursting Objects Key Project: Overview and Year 1 Status. The Planetary Science Journal, 3(7), article no. 173.



The LCO Outbursting Objects Key (LOOK) Project uses the telescopes of the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) Network to (1) systematically monitor a sample of previously discovered over the whole sky, to assess the evolutionary state of these distant remnants from the early solar system, and (2) use alerts from existing sky surveys to rapidly respond to and characterize detected outburst activity in all small bodies. The data gathered on outbursts helps to characterize each outburst’s evolution with time, helps to assess the frequency and magnitude distribution of outbursts in general, and contributes to the understanding of outburst processes and volatile distribution in the solar system. The LOOK Project exploits the synergy between current and future wide-field surveys such as ZTF, Pan-STARRS, and LSST, as well as rapid-response telescope networks such as LCO, and serves as an excellent test bed for what will be needed for the much larger number of objects coming from Rubin Observatory. We will describe the LOOK Project goals, the planning and target selection (including the use of NEOexchange as a Target and Observation Manager or “TOM”), and results from the first phase of observations, including the detection of activity and outbursts on the giant comet C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli–Bernstein) and the discovery and follow-up of 28 outbursts on 14 comets. Within these outburst discoveries, we present a high-cadence light curve of 7P/Pons–Winnecke with 10 outbursts observed over 90 days, a large outburst on 57P/duToit–Neujmin–Delporte, and evidence that comet P/2020 X1 (ATLAS) was in outburst when discovered.

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