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M.A. Gurwell (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
The Submillimeter Array is a unique instrument with capabilities that are well-matched to the often challenging requirements needed for planetary astronomy. The SMA allows imaging with spatial resolution down to 0.3" at 850 \mum, with 4 GHz of total bandwidth coupled with high spectral resolution. This allows deep continuum sensitivity for imaging small & cold solar system bodies, as well as allowing observations of a multitude of spectral lines in a single tuning with enough spectral coverage to include even highly pressure broadened features. I will discuss some of the most recent SMA work in solar system science which highlight the instrument's strengths and versatility. I will present the first ever resolved image of the Pluto/Charon binary system at wavelengths longer than the near-IR; these observations show that the surface of Pluto is very cold, below the temperature of radiative equilibrium. Other topics include detailed measurements of Titan's atmospheric temperature and composition, the broadband millimeter/submillimeter spectra of Uranus and Neptune, and observations of near-Earth comets.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.