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Update from Jay Pasachoff as of July 1

4 Jul 2015, 01:59 UTC
Update from Jay Pasachoff as of July 1
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Observations of the occultation of June 29, 2015, were very successful both from the ground and from the air. My team has a wonderful light curve from the Mt. John University Observatory in New Zealand; we were close enough to the center of the path that the light curve showed a central peak (a “central flash”), a focusing of starlight as it passed around Jupiter, that allowed probing very low in Pluto’s atmosphere. Other teams had light curves from elsewhere in New Zealand and from Tasmania. NASA’s instrumented SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), with its 2.5-m telescope mirror, recorded excellent light curves from high altitude above New Zealand. The views of this occultation will provide excellent comparisons with the ultraviolet and radio occultation results that should be provided by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft about two weeks later. Further, the long-term run of occultation studies should provide context for the high-quality snapshot view of Pluto’s atmosphere that New Horizons should provide.

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