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Occultation evidence for an atmosphere on Pluto


Hubbard, WB and Hunten, DM and Dieters, S and Hill, KM and Watson, RD, Occultation evidence for an atmosphere on Pluto, Nature, 336, (6198) pp. 452-454. ISSN 0028-0836 (1988) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/336452a0


On 9 June 1988, Pluto occulted a 12th magnitude star 1. Several observations of the occultation were obtained from Australia, New Zealand, and the south Pacific 2 and indicated that the initial decline in stellar flux was gradual, as would be expected if the starlight was defocused by an extended atmosphere around the planet. Here we interpret data obtained from the 1- telescope at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, in terms of a theory for occultation by an atmosphere whose thickness is comparable to the planetary radius. The data can be satisfactorily fitted with a methane atmosphere at plausible pressures and temperatures. The surface pressures inferred from this single chord are uncertain by an order of magnitude, but are consistent with spectroscopic constraints. © 1988 Nature Publishing Group.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Dieters, S (Dr Stefan Dieters)
UTAS Author:Hill, KM (Dr Kym Hill)
UTAS Author:Watson, RD (Dr Bob Watson)
ID Code:35574
Year Published:1988
Web of Science® Times Cited:96
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-30

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