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A classic optics experiment, in space with asteroids and AGNs!

17 May 2018, 03:16 UTC
A classic optics experiment, in space with asteroids and AGNs!
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Title: Radio interferometric observation of an asteroid occultationAuthors: Jorma Harju, Kimmo Lehtinen, Jonathan Romney et al.First Author’s Institution: Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland; Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, GermanyStatus: Submitted to the Astronomical Journal, open access on arXivFor decades astronomers have used occultations to study celestial bodies such as the moon, asteroids and even quasars. An occultation occurs when some foreground object —the moon, a planet, or an asteroid—crosses in front of a background object—the sun (in the case of an eclipse), a planet, a star or a quasar. While rare, these occurrences can tell us a lot about the foreground and/or background objects. For example they have been used to determine the positions of quasars (before radio interferometers were available), detect binary stars, study surface topography of the moon, the atmosphere of the outer planets, and the shapes and sizes of asteroids (including New Horizons‘s next target). Today’s paper uses an intriguing technique to analyze an occultation of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) by an asteroid observed with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).On May 15, 2017 at UT 14:31:23 an asteroid named Palma crossed in-between AGN 0141+268 and the Brewster VLBA station. Figure 1 shows the ...

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