solar system

"occult" science at LCOGT

Our newly-commissioned Lucky Imaging and High Speed Photometry (LIHSP) cameras on FTN and FTS scored a great success on June 23rd at their first attempt to collect science data, catching occulations of both Pluto and its satellite Charon from FTN!  An "occultation" is simply the transit of an object along the line of sight to a star, From occultations of Kuiper Belt Objects, you can learn about their size, and a for large one like Pluto, its atmosphere and or

Upper Limits on the Number of Small Bodies in Sedna-Like Orbits by the TAOS Project

We present the results of a search for occultation events by objects at distances between 100 and 1000 AU in light curves from the Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey. We searched for consecutive, shallow flux reductions in the stellar light curves obtained by our survey between 2005 February 7 and 2006 December 31 with a total of ~4.5 × 10^9 three-telescope simultaneous photometric measurements. No events were detected, allowing us to set upper limits on the number density as a function of size and distance of objects in Sedna-like orbits, using simple models.
The Astronomical Journal 138 1893, doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/138/6/1893

The Solar System


Our Solar System consits of the Sun, four rocky planets, four gas giant planets, moons, many dwarf planets, asteroids, the Kuiper Belt, the Oort Cloud and much more. Space craft have orbited or visited many of the planets and moons and humans have visited Earth's Moon. Studying our Solar System helps scientists learn not only about our surroundings, but also about how other planetary systems may have formed.

Solar System Taboo

1. Print and cut out all of the Solar System Taboo cards and place them in a pile face-down.

2. Ask the students to name the largest object in the Solar System (answer: the Sun).

3. The first student to give the correct answer begins the game.

4. Ask the first student to pick up the top card and, without showing it to the rest of the group, try to describe the object given at the top of the card without using the 3 ‘taboo’ words underneath.

5. The other students must try to guess the correct Solar System object or region.