Titania's radius and an upper limit on its atmosphere from the September 8, 2001 stellar occultation
On September 8, 2001 around 2 h UT, the largest uranian moon, Titania, occulted Hipparcos star 106829 (alias SAO 164538, a V=7.2, K0 III star). This was the first-ever observed occultation by this satellite, a rare event as Titania subtends only 0.11 arcsec on the sky. The star's unusual brightness allowed many observers, both amateurs or professionals, to monitor this unique event, providing fifty-seven occultations chords over three continents, all reported here. Selecting the best 27 occultation chords, and assuming a circular limb, we derive Titania's radius: R=788.4±0.6km ( 1-σ error bar). This implies a density of ρ=1.711±0.005gcm using the value GM=(2.343±0.006)×10ms derived by Taylor [Taylor, D.B., 1998. Astron. Astrophys. 330, 362-374]. We do not detect any significant difference between equatorial and polar radii, in the limit r-r=-1.3±2.1km, in agreement with Voyager limb image retrieval during the 1986 flyby. Titania's offset with respect to the DE405 + URA027 (based on GUST86 theory) ephemeris is derived: Δαcos(δ)=-108±13 mas and Δδ=-62±7 mas (ICRF J2000.0 system). Most of this offset is attributable to a Uranus' barycentric offset with respect to DE405, that we estimate to be: Δαcos(δ)=-100±25mas and Δδ=-85±25 mas at the moment of occultation. This offset is confirmed by another Titania stellar occultation observed on August 1st, 2003, which provides an offset of Δαcos(δ)=-127±20 mas and Δδ=-97±13 mas for the satellite. The combined ingress and egress data do not show any significant hint for atmospheric refraction, allowing us to set surface pressure limits at the level of 10-20 nbar. More specifically, we find an upper limit of 13 nbar ( 1-σ level) at 70 K and 17 nbar at 80 K, for a putative isothermal CO 2 atmosphere. We also provide an upper limit of 8 nbar for a possible CH 4 atmosphere, and 22 nbar for pure N 2, again at the 1-σ level. We finally constrain the stellar size using the time-resolved star disappearance and reappearance at ingress and egress. We find an angular diameter of 0.54±0.03 mas (corresponding to 7.5±0.4km projected at Titania). With a distance of 170±25 parsecs, this corresponds to a radius of 9.8±0.2 solar radii for HIP 106829, typical of a K0 III giant.