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See detailThe 3/4 July 2010 Pluto Stellar-Occultation Observations
Pasachoff, Jay M; Elliot, J. L.; Souza, S. P. et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2010, October 01), 42

Continuing our monitoring of Pluto's atmospheric temperature and pressure, previously shown by us to be increasing (Elliot et al., Nature 424, 165, 2003; Pasachoff et al., AJ 129, 1718, 2005) and ... [more ▼]

Continuing our monitoring of Pluto's atmospheric temperature and pressure, previously shown by us to be increasing (Elliot et al., Nature 424, 165, 2003; Pasachoff et al., AJ 129, 1718, 2005) and subsequently found by us to be leveling off (Elliot et al., AJ 134, 1, 2007), we report on a stellar occultation by Pluto of UCAC2 mag=15.3, observed from South America and Africa on 4 July 2010 UT. Success was achieved with a 0.45 m at Cerro Calan using one of our POETS (Portable Occultation, Eclipse, and Transit System; Souza et al. PASP 118, 1550, 2006), a 1.0 SMARTS (Small and Medium Aperture Research Telescope System) at Cerro Tololo, four 0.6 m telescopes of PROMPT (Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes) on Cerro Tololo, and TRAPPIST's (TRansiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope) 0.6-m telescope on La Silla in Chile; the 0.35 m telescope of U. Ponta Grossa, Brazil; and the 0.75-m ATOM (Automatic Telescope for Optical Monitoring), Namibia, using POETS. Winds prevented opening the 6.5 m Magellan/Clay telescope on Las Campanas, Chile, with its own frame-transfer camera, and clouds obscured the 1.9 m telescope at Sutherland, South Africa, which had POETS. With shadow velocity 23.6 km/s, it was a rapid event: maximum occultation <2 minutes. The observations were supported in part by grants NNX08AO50G to Williams College and NNX10AB27G to MIT from NASA's Planetary Astronomy Division, and NNH08AI17I to USNO for astrometry. Student participation was supported in part by NASA's Massachusetts Space Grant and NSF's REU. Japan's government donated U. Chile's Cerro Calan Goto telescope. PROMPT observations were made possible by the Robert Martin Ayers Science Fund. TRAPPIST is a project driven by the University of Liège, in close collaboration with the Observatory of Geneva, supported by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research and the Swiss National Science Foundation. [less ▲]

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