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Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan

Bouchez, Antonin H. and Brown, Michael E. and Troy, Mitchell and Burruss, Rick S. and Dekany, Richard G. and West, Robert A. (2003) Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan. In: Adaptive Optical System Technologies II. Proceedings of SPIE. No.4839. Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, pp. 1045-1054. ISBN 9780819446183.

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We present resolved images of the occultation of a binary star by Titan, recorded with the Palomar Observatory adaptive optics system on 20 December 2001 UT. These constitute the first resolved observations of a stellar occultation by a small body, and demonstrate several unique capabilities of diffraction-limited imaging systems for the study of planetary atmospheres. Two refracted stellar images are visible on Titan's limb throughout both events, displaying scintillations due to local density variations. Precise relative astrometry of the refracted stellar images with respect to the unnocculted component of the binary allows us to directly measure their altitude in Titan's atmosphere. Their changing positions also lead to simple demonstration of the finite oblateness of surfaces of constant pressure in Titan's mid-latitude stratosphere, consistent with the only previous measurement of Titan's zonal wind field.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription
Brown, Michael E.0000-0002-8255-0545
West, Robert A.0000-0002-4320-2599
Additional Information:© 2003 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). We are grateful to Leslie Young for motivating these observations and providing astrometric and flux predictions. We thank Jean Mueller for able assistance at the controls of the Palomar Hale telescope, and Tom Hayward for help configuring the PHARO camera for these unusual observations. A.H.B. is supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Adaptive optics, occultation, Titan, Titan atmosphere
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:4839
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180717-111606398
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Official Citation:Antonin H. Bouchez, Michael E. Brown, Mitchell Troy, Rick S. Burruss, Richard G. Dekany, Robert A. West, "Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan", Proc. SPIE 4839, Adaptive Optical System Technologies II, (7 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459463;
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87924
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Jul 2018 18:40
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:22

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