NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0228

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0228


PI: Michael J Person, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, mjperson@mit.edu
Address: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT 54-418; 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

CoI: Amanda S Bosh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CoI: Stephen Levine, MIT; Lowell Observatory

Title: Intra-day Investigation of Pluto's Atmosphere with Stellar Occultations

Abstract: To monitor Pluto's evolving atmosphere, and search for atmospheric variations on timescales shorter than one Pluto day, we propose to observe four Pluto stellar occultations all occurring in the last eight days of July. Two of the events are visible from Australia on the night of 23 July 2014 UT, and two are visible from Chile on 27 July and 31 July 2014. The coincidence of these occultations in time provides a rare opportunity to search for short-timescale changes in Pluto's atmosphere, in addition to allowing us to continue our annual monitoring of Pluto's atmospheric evolution. Recent transport models (Young 2013) have brought long-standing assertions about Pluto's atmospheric evolution into question, implying the possibility that Pluto's atmosphere does not collapse for much of each revolution as previously thought (Hansen and Paige 1996). The current epoch is when these competing models begin to diverge and continuing data collection is necessary to distinguish among the various models.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0228

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