Occultation Program

At Southwest Research Institute, we have an active observational program to observe occultations of stars by solar system objects. The occultation group consists of Leslie Young, Cathy Olkin, Eliot Young, Marc Buie, Joel Parker, and anyone else we can recruit for campaigns.

The following pages are updated as needed.

  • Occultation predictions
  • Occultation results

    I am also running a project in collaboration with John Keller at CalPoly San Luis Obispso called RECON, which stands for the Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network. There are automated occutlation predictions for the next 2.5 years generated from this program:

    Global Event predictions
    RECON watch, these are appulses visible to RECON
    RECON list, appulses with a >30% chance of success.

    These prediction pages are updated once a day as new astrometry of TNOs become available. Details about the project and the prediction system can be seen in our paper in the Astronomical Journal. Basically, generate a list of TNOs whose positional uncertainty in two years is less than 2 arcsec. For each of these objects I find a list of all stars that the objects come to within 5 arcsec. An occultation prediction is generated for that list but only those coming close to the Earth are kept. For each opportunity that is close enough, I compute if it would be observable by RECON. For those that are observable, I then compute the probability of success if we were to observe the appulse. This probability does not include any effects of weather, just the uncertainties in the position of the object and star. The preferred threshold for a RECON campaign is a probability of success higher than 30%. Details regarding official RECON campaigns can be found on the project website.

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    This page last updated on 2016 Sep 7 07:05 UTC

    Marc W. Buie, Southwest Research Institute