Knowledge of the Kuiper Belt is currently limited to those objects that can be detected directly. Objects with diameters less than ∼10km reflect too little light to be detected. These smaller bodies could contain most of the mass in the Kuiper Belt while the abundance of these bodies may constrain the distribution of mass. The overall size distribution of bodies within the Kuiper Belt can also be inferred from the relative abundances of sub-km and larger bodies. Stellar occultations are already used to study dark objects in the Solar System, such as asteroids or planetary rings. Occultation by a KBO of a size comparable to, or larger than, that of the Fresnel Scale will result in Fresnel diffraction. Detection of diffraction effects requires fast multiple-star photometry, which will be conducted in July 2007 using the Orthogonal Parallel Transfer Imaging Camera (OPTIC) mounted on the University of Hawaii 2.2m telescope on Mauna Kea. This paper details how knowledge of the mass and structure of the outer Solar System may be obtained through the detection of serendipitous stellar occultations.
14th Young Scientists Conference on Astronomy and Space Physics
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- Published in Proceedings of the 14th Young Scientists Conference on Astronomy and Space Physics, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 23-28, 2007