37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 49 Pluto and Charon
Oral, Thursday, September 8, 2005, 9:00-10:00am, Law LG19

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

[49.04] Resolved, Time-Series Observations of Pluto-Charon with the Magellan Telescopes

J. L. Elliot, M. J. Person, E. R. Adams, A. A. S. Gulbis, E. A. Kramer (Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT)

In support of prediction refinements at MIT for stellar occultations by Pluto and Charon, resolved photometric observations of Pluto and Charon at optical wavelengths have been carried out with the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory for each apparition since 2001. Both Sloan and Johnson-Kron-Cousins filters have been used. The median natural image quality for the site is about 0.7 arcsec (with some nights better than 0.3 arcsec). These data yield accurate light ratios for the two bodies as a function of: (1) wavelength, (2) Charon's orbital phase, and (3) the sub-Earth latitude for Pluto and Charon. This information is needed to interpret the location of their center of light, relative to their center of mass, for unresolved images of Pluto and Charon taken with wide-field astrometric instruments. The Raymond and Beverly Magellan Instant Camera ("MagIC") -- the instrument used for these observations -- has a focal-plane scale of 0.069 arcsec/pix and a field of 2.3 arcmin. This field is large enough so that many of our Pluto-Charon frames can be tied to the International Coordinate Reference Frame (ICRF) with stars in the UCAC2 catalog. Initial results for this program have been reported by Clancy et al. (Highlights of Astr. vol. 13, in press), who found a strong trend in the Charon to Pluto light ratio over the wavelength range spanned by the Sloan filters. Further results from this program used to predict the 2005 July 11 stellar occultation by Charon will be presented. We gratefully acknowledge support from NASA Grant NNG04GF25G from the Planetary Astronomy program.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jle@mit.edu

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

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