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Proceedings Paper

Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan
Author(s): Antonin H. Bouchez; Michael E. Brown; Mitchell Troy; Rick S. Burruss; Richard G. Dekany; Robert A. West
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Paper Abstract

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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 February 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4839, Adaptive Optical System Technologies II, (7 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459463
Show Author Affiliations
Antonin H. Bouchez, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Mitchell Troy, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Rick S. Burruss, Palomar Observatory (United States)
Richard G. Dekany, Caltech Optical Observatories/California Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert A. West, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4839:
Adaptive Optical System Technologies II
Peter L. Wizinowich; Domenico Bonaccini, Editor(s)

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