7 February 2003 Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan
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Abstract
We present resolved images of the occultation of a binary star by Titan, recorded with the Palomar Observatory adaptive optics system on 20 December 2001 UT. These constitute the first resolved observations of a stellar occultation by a small body, and demonstrate several unique capabilities of diffraction-limited imaging systems for the study of planetary atmospheres. Two refracted stellar images are visible on Titan's limb throughout both events, displaying scintillations due to local density variations. Precise relative astrometry of the refracted stellar images with respect to the unnocculted component of the binary allows us to directly measure their altitude in Titan's atmosphere. Their changing positions also lead to simple demonstration of the finite oblateness of surfaces of constant pressure in Titan's mid-latitude stratosphere, consistent with the only previous measurement of Titan's zonal wind field.
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Antonin H. Bouchez, Antonin H. Bouchez, Michael E. Brown, Michael E. Brown, Mitchell Troy, Mitchell Troy, Rick S. Burruss, Rick S. Burruss, Richard G. Dekany, Richard G. Dekany, Robert A. West, Robert A. West, } "Adaptive optics imaging of a stellar occultation by Titan", Proc. SPIE 4839, Adaptive Optical System Technologies II, (7 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459463; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.459463
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