Stellar occultation by 2060 Chiron.

S. J. Bus, M. W. Buie, D. G. Schleicher, W. B. Hubbard, R. L. Marcialis, R. Hill, L. H. Wasserman, J. R. Spencer, R. L. Millis, E. W. Dunham, C. H. Ford, J. W. Young, J. L. Elliot, R. Meserole, C. B. Olkin, S. W. McDonald, J. A. Foust, L. M. Sopata, and R. M. Bandyopadhyay. Icarus 123, 478-490 (1996) .


A 14th magnitude double star was occulted by 2060 Chiron on 1993 November 7. Observations of this event were obtained from five locations in California. An occultation by Chiron's nucleus was recorded at one of these sites, while a possible graze by the nucleus was seen at the next closest location. If this possible graze represents a true detection of the nucleus, Chiron's radius is determined to be 89.6 +/- 6.8 km, assuming a circular outline for the shape. If the nucleus was not seen at the second location, Chiron's radius is only constrained as being greater than 90.2 +/- 6.5 km. The presence of dust in Chiron's inner coma was also detected in four of the five occultation datasets. Lightcurve features were identified that may be explained by narrow, collimated jets of material, and by a much larger region of dust distributed asymmetrically about Chiron's nucleus. Periodic fluctuations in the dust may have been detected in one of the lightcurves. If this periodicity is real, and is induced as a result of Chiron's rotation, then a minimum expansion velocity for the dust is found to be ~40 m/sec.

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