DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 6. Kuiper Belt and KBOs I: Extent and Character
Oral, Chairs: D. Jewitt, S. Lederer, Tuesday, November 27, 2001, 2:00-3:20pm, Regency GH

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[6.08] Research of small Kuiper Belt Objects by Stellar Occultations

F. Roques, N. Lavillonnière, M. Auvergne, M. Chevreton (Observatoire de Paris, France), F. Colas (IMCCE,Observatoire de Paris, France), J. Lecacheux, M. Moncuquet (Observatoire de Paris, France), J.M. Perrin (Observatoire de Haute Provence, France)

Fast photometric observations of target stars in the ecliptic have been organised at the Pic du Midi Observatory (2-m TBL and T1M) and the Haute Provence Observatory (T193) in order to search for small Kuiper Belt Objects by stellar occultations. The target stars have been chosen in the Tycho catalog: 18-1201-1 (Vmag=12,4), 585-671-1 (Vmag=11.8), 4669-750-1 (Vmag=11.9 ), 548-592-1 (Vmag=10.9) and 583-907-1 (Vmag=12.8). They are O stars to optimize the brightness/apparent size ratio. The observation sampling was 20 Hz and we got good quality observation during 18 hours, 28 hours and 8 hours at TBL, T1M and T193, respectively. The r.m.s. signal fluctuations, which mainly varies with telescope diameter and star elevation, may be 0.014 for a 2-m telescope. Within such a signal, an event due to a 120 meters KBO diameter is detected at a 3 sigma r.m.s. level. A realistic size distribution in the KBO population leads to one such event for 27 hours observation (Roques and Moncuquet, Icarus, 147, 530, 2000). The observed events are presented and analyzed.

This work was supported by the Programme National de Planetologie

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