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Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network blogs

Excitement at DPS2013 for the LCOGT occultation network

17 Oct 2013, 17:00 UTC
Excitement at DPS2013 for the LCOGT occultation network
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The Division for Planetary (DPS) annual meeting is unfolding this week in Denver, CO. This it's the main gathering for Solar System and exoplanet scientists, and LCOGT, of course, was there!

Federica Bianco presented in a poster a collection of occultation results obtained with the LCOGT telescopes over the course of the past few years. Here is a small gallery of videos and information on a few of the occultations the that our system observed. Highlights include the discovery of a shell of material around Chiron, and that the atmosphere of Pluto is expanding. Occultations happen when a foreground object transits in front of a background star (these events are usually called transits if the angular size of the star is larger than that of the transiting object, occultation otherwise). Stellar occultations are key in probing the Solar System beyond the limits of direct observations and allowed the discovery, for example, of the rings of Uranus, and atmosphere of Pluto. Occultations are a team job: if the occultation is observed from multiple sites meaningful constrains can be set on the size, shape, or atmosphere of the occulter. Thus when an event is expected a number of observers, professional ...

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