37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 47 Icy Satellites
Poster, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[47.05] The mutual events of the uranian satellites in 2006-2010

A. A. Christou (Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland)

The satellite systems of the giant planets undergo seasons of mutual eclipses and occultations at the planetary equinox. These events provide opportunities for very precise astrometry of the satellites and studies of their physical characteristics that are otherwise possible only in situ by spacecraft. Mutual events of the jovian and saturnian satellites are now observed regularly through dedicated campaigns every 6 and 15 years respectively.

Here we expose the upcoming mutual event season of the major uranian satellites Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon and Miranda, the first to occur since 1966-67 (Christou, Icarus 2005, in press). Approximately 150 mutual eclipses and occultations of these satellites will be observable in the period between Spring 2006 and Spring 2010. We discuss the general characteristics of these events, as compared to similar phenomena in the jovian, saturnian, and Pluto-Charon systems and provide examples.

We show how our knowledge of the satellite orbits, albedo variegation across their as-yet-unsurveyed northern hemispheres and possibly the system constants such as the satellite masses and the uranian zonal harmonics will improve considerably through a photometric campaign to observe these events. Finally, we discuss the unique challenges of observing relatively faint satellites near a bright primary and suggest mitigation measures.

Astronomy research at the Armagh Observatory is funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.arm.ac.uk/~aac/uranus/index.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: aac@star.arm.ac.uk

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.