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MPS Seminar: Minor planet photometric investigations: novel techniques from space and the ground (L.L. Kiss)

  • Date: Mar 2, 2018
  • Time: 14:00 - 15:00
  • Speaker: László L. Kiss
  • Konkoly Observatory, Budapest, Hungary
  • Location: MPS
  • Room: Auditorium
  • Host: Aaron Birch
Here we present recent highlights from the minor planet research group of the Konkoly Observatory, all related to photometric observations of main-belt asteroids and Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) with novel techniques that appeared in the last few years. First, the ecliptic survey of the NASA Kepler space telescope, known as the K2 mission, opened a whole new avenue of obtaining unbiased rotational properties of minor planets. For this, a new observing strategy had to be developed for Kepler, optimizing the data acquisition for the uninterrupted ~80 days of observations of moving objects in the fixed field of view in the ecliptic plane. Our results include statistically meaningful samples of rotational properties of main-belt asteroids, Jovian Trojan asteroids and several TNOs and Uranian small irregular moons. We also demonstrate the power of combining K2, Spitzer and HST observations for full characterization of distant icy bodies in the outer regions of the Solar System. Second, our group has actively taken part in TNO occultation observations, of which the highlight is the discovery of the rings of Haumea. For this, critical observations were made with a high-end ultrasensitive EMCCD camera, one that is capable of fast photometry of faint targets. We briefly discuss the advantages of the EMCCD technique in respect to traditional CCD photometry

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