Towards Efficient Detection of Small Near-Earth Asteroids Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)


We describe ZStreak, a semi-real-time pipeline specialized in detecting small, fast-moving near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) that is currently operating on the data from the newly-commissioned Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) survey. Based on a prototype originally developed by Waszczak et al. (2017) for the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), the predecessor of ZTF, ZStreak features an improved machine-learning model that can cope with the $10times$ data rate increment between PTF and ZTF. Since its first discovery on 2018 February 5 (2018 CL), ZTF/ZStreak has discovered $45$ confirmed new NEAs over a total of 232 observable nights until 2018 December 31. Most of the discoveries are small NEAs, with diameters less than $sim100$ m. By analyzing the discovery circumstances, we find that objects having the first to last detection time interval under 2 hr are at risk of being lost. We will further improve real-time follow-up capabilities, and work on suppressing false positives using deep learning.