A stellar occultation by (486958) 2014 MU69: results from the 2017 July 17 portable telescope campaign
On 2017 July 17, (486958) 2014 MU69 passed in front of a star as seen from the area north of Comodoro Rivadavia, in Chubut Province, Argentina. Despite challenging wind conditions, twenty two portable telescopes recorded data of the g'= 12.60 mag star in a 45-minute block centered on the predicted midtime of roughly 03:50 UT. Each telescope was spaced approximately 4 km apart in a “picket fence” pattern to target an object as small as 10 km. The picket fence spanned roughly 100 km. Five telescopes observed a solid body occultation.Occultation data provide a unique one-dimensional probe of the 2014 MU69 system that is impossible to achieve from direct imaging. These data will allow for fits of the size and shape of 2014 MU69, and from its derived size, the albedo . The occultation data will also aid in navigation of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft toward its January 1, 2019 encounter with 2014 MU69.We will detail the July 17 occultation campaign and present analyses of the light curves from each portable station, including occultation timing and constraints on dust and and other objects in the system derived from the occultation baseline data.This work would not have been possible without the financial support of the New Horizons mission and NASA, astrometric support of the Gaia mission and HST, and logistical support from Argentina, CONAE and specifically Comodoro Rivadavia as well as assistance from the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.
- AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #49
- Pub Date:
- October 2017