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We describe the discovery circumstances and photometric properties of 2000 EB173, now one of the brightest trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) with opposition magnitude mR = 18.9 and also one of the largest Plutinos, found with the drift-scanning camera of the Quasar Equatorial Survey Team, attached to the 1 m Schmidt telescope of the National Observatory of Venezuela. We measure B-V = 0.99 ± 0.14 and V-R = 0.57 ± 0.05, a red color observed for many fainter TNOs. At our magnitude limit mK = 20.1 ± 0.20, our single detection reveals a sky density of 0.015+0.034-0.012 TNOs per square degree (the error bars are 68% confidence limits), consistent with fainter surveys showing a cumulative number proportional to 100.5mR. Assuming an inclination distribution of TNOs with FWHM exceeding 30°, it is likely that 100 to several hundred objects brighter than mR = 20.1 remain to be discovered.

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Astrophysical Journal