On 6 June 2020, Pluto's stellar occultation was successfully observed at a ground-based observatory in Iran, and Pluto's atmospheric parameters were investigated. We used an atmospheric model of Pluto, assuming a spherical and transparent pure N2 atmosphere. Using ray-tracing code, the stellar occultation light curve was satisfactorily fit to this model. We found that Pluto's atmospheric pressure at the reference radius of 1215 km was 6.72 ± 0.48 μbar in June 2020. Our estimated pressure shows a continuation of the pressure increase trend observed since 1988 and does not confirm the rapid pressure decrease tentatively reported in 2019. The pressure evolution is consistent with a seasonal transport model. We conclude that the N2 sublimation process from Sputnik Planitia is continuing. This study's result is shown on the diagram of the annual evolution of atmospheric pressure.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- September 2021
- planets and satellites: atmospheres;
- Kuiper belt objects: individual: Pluto;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 4 figures, 2 tables