AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 96. The Solar System
Display, Saturday, January 9, 1999, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall 1

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[96.06] First Results from the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar

I. J. Daubar (Cornell Univ.), M. C. Nolan, D. B. Campbell, A. Crespo, J. K. Harmon, A. A. Hine, P. J. Perillat (NAIC--Arecibo Observatory), G. Black (NRAO), S. J. Ostro, L. A. M. Benner, R. F. Jurgens, M. A. Slade, J. D. Giorgini (JPL), J. F. Chandler (CFA)

We present preliminary results from the first Planetary Radar observations at the Arecibo Observatory since the Gregorian upgrade. All of these observations were ``firsts'' for the new system, and were to a large extent part of the commisioning of the system. We observed asteroids 4183~Cuno, 1994~AH2, 1998~ML14, comet C/1998~K5, the SOHO spacecraft, and Mercury using the upgraded radar. The latter two were done in both monostatic (Arecibo both transmitting and receiving) and bistatic (Arecibo transmitting and Goldstone receiving) modes.

The observations of 1994~AH2 had sufficient S/N to allow some spatial resolution, and indicate an irregular object. The observations of 1998~ML14 provided dramatic images. The other minor planets were unresolved due to low S/N. The SOHO observations confirmed that the spacecraft was in its expected orbit and had a rotation period of 52.87 seconds, near its nominal 1-minute rotation period.

The system has approximately four times the pre-upgrade performance, with another factor of 2--4 expected to be achieved over the next few months. Further observations are scheduled for the Fall.

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