DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 39. KBO and Centaurs II
Poster, Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[39.18] Constraint on the Kuiper Belt Objects size distribution from Stellar Occultations

F. Roques, M. Chevreton, F. Colas, A. Fernandez, J. Lecacheux, M. Moncuquet (Observatoire de Paris)

Fast photometric observations of well chosen target stars is a powerfull tool to detect occultations due to subkilometer-sized objects of the Kuiper Belt, which are undetectable with any other observation methods. Research of stellar occultations will also bring constraint on outer limit of the Kuiper Belt. There are only weak constraints on the low end of the size distribution of the Kuiper Belt objects, and it is critical to know more about it in particular for a better understanding of the outer Solar System formation.

We will present the conditions and results of two observation campaigns organized at the Pic du Midi Observatory dedicated to the research of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) by stellar occultations. The observation has consisted in recording with a multi-objects fast photometer (20Hz) the flux of a well chosen star (quasi punctual and in Ecliptic plane) and to count occultations of this star by passing KBOs. The observation has been performed simultaneously with two nearby telescopes, the Bernard Lyot 2-m telescope and the 1-m planetologic telescope. The good quality signal provides interesting constraint on the sub-km part of the Kuiper belt size distribution and let show some Fresnel diffracted occultation profiles (Roques et al., ApJL, in press).

This work is supported by the Programme National de Planetologie

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.