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The Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations Project. I. USNO Objects Missing in Modern Sky Surveys and Follow-up Observations of a “Missing Star”

Villarroel, Beatriz; Soodla, Johan; Comerón, Sébastien; Mattsson, Lars; Pelckmans, Kristiaan; López-Corredoira, Martín; Krisciunas, Kevin; Guerras, Eduardo; Kochukhov, Oleg; Bergstedt, Josefine; Buelens, Bart; Bär, Rudolf E.; Cubo, Rubén; Enriquez, J. Emilio; Gupta, Alok C.; Imaz, Iñigo; Karlsson, Torgny; Prieto, M. Almudena; Shlyapnikov, Aleksey A.; de Souza, Rafael S.; Vavilova, Irina B.; Ward, Martin J.

The Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations Project. I. USNO Objects Missing in Modern Sky Surveys and Follow-up Observations of a “Missing Star” Thumbnail


Authors

Beatriz Villarroel

Johan Soodla

Sébastien Comerón

Lars Mattsson

Kristiaan Pelckmans

Martín López-Corredoira

Kevin Krisciunas

Eduardo Guerras

Oleg Kochukhov

Josefine Bergstedt

Bart Buelens

Rudolf E. Bär

Rubén Cubo

J. Emilio Enriquez

Alok C. Gupta

Iñigo Imaz

Torgny Karlsson

M. Almudena Prieto

Aleksey A. Shlyapnikov

Rafael S. de Souza

Irina B. Vavilova



Abstract

In this paper we report the current status of a new research program. The primary goal of the "Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations" project is to search for vanishing and appearing sources using existing survey data to find examples of exceptional astrophysical transients. The implications of finding such objects extend from traditional astrophysics fields to the more exotic searches for evidence of technologically advanced civilizations. In this first paper we present new, deeper observations of the tentative candidate discovered by Villarroel et al. in 2016. We then perform the first searches for vanishing objects throughout the sky by comparing 600 million objects from the US Naval Observatory Catalogue (USNO) B1.0 down to a limiting magnitude of ~20–21 with the recent Pan-STARRS Data Release-1 (DR1) with a limiting magnitude of ~23.4. We find about 150,000 preliminary candidates that do not have any Pan-STARRS counterpart within a 30'' radius. We show that these objects are redder and have larger proper motions than typical USNO objects. We visually examine the images for a subset of about 24,000 candidates, superseding the 2016 study with a sample 10 times larger. We find about 100 point sources visible in only one epoch in the red band of the USNO, which may be of interest in searches for strong M-dwarf flares, high-redshift supernovae, or other categories of unidentified red transients.

Citation

Villarroel, B., Soodla, J., Comerón, S., Mattsson, L., Pelckmans, K., López-Corredoira, M., …Ward, M. J. (2020). The Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations Project. I. USNO Objects Missing in Modern Sky Surveys and Follow-up Observations of a “Missing Star”. Astronomical Journal, 159(1), Article 8. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ab570f

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 12, 2020
Publication Date 2020-01
Deposit Date Aug 19, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2020
Journal Astronomical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-6256
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 159
Issue 1
Article Number 8
DOI https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ab570f

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Copyright Statement
© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.







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