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Full text of "NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20050051004: [Accomplistments in the Last Year Against the Objectives Laid Out in the Original Proposal; the Current Status of the Research; the Work to go in the Next Year; and Publications]"

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Jathes Elliot, 1/21/05 1:33 PM -0500, Progress Report forJ|NNG04GF25G (through 2005- 

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Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 13:33:51 -0500 

To: Lindley Johnson <Lindley . Johnson-1 gnasa . gov> 

From: James Elliot <jle@MIT.EDU> 

Subject: Progress Report for NNG04GF25G (through 2005-01-31) 

C c: "Cocuzzo, Allison" <cocuzzo@mit .edu>, 

"Magoveny, Cheryl" <magoveny@rait .edu>, "Person, Michael" <mjperson§mit .edu> 

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Below is my annual progress report {through 2005-01-31) on NASA Grant NNG04GF25G. As you suggested 
to Allison Cocuzzo, it is organized according to (i) accomplishments in the last year against the 
objectives laid out in the original proposal, (ii) the current status of the research, (iii) the work 
to go in the next year, and (iv) publications. Since this program is a continuation of the 
occultation work supported in a predecessor grant, the "ACCOMPLISHMENTS" section lists all the tasks 
that we wrote into the proposal (in June 2003) through the end of the first year of the new grant. 

Let me know if you need any more information. 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS (proposed tasks preceded by "*" ) 

* Complete analysis of Tr231 data and prepare for publication (G, PI) 

The data obtained from the Tr231 occultation had been partially reduced and initial results confirming 
persistence of the general thermal structure of Triton* s atmosphere were presented at the 2001 meeting 
of the DPS (Person, M. J. , Elliot, J. L-, Pate, J-, Glass, I., Stone, R. C., Morzinski, K. M. , & 
Dunham, E. W. 2001, BAAS, 33, 1130). Those results did not specifically support or refute the 
previously observed warming trend in Triton's lower atmosphere because the closest approach distance 
of the occultation could not be determined from the lone chord obtained. 

Currently, astrometry data obtained at the time of the event are being analyzed to constrain the 
closest approach distance of the event and thus eliminate the major variable in modeling. Once 
complete, this will allow inversion of the light curve, resulting in specific temperature and pressure 
profiles that can be compared to the previously observed events. 

The astrometry work is currently in progress, as part of Michael Person's PhD thesis preparation, and 
the results of the astrometry and subsequent atmospheric analyses will be submitted for publication 
contemporaneously with inclusion in this thesis. 

* Complete and publish analysis of Pluto's atmospheric shape from the P131.1 data (G, PI) 

This work is complete, and a paper will be submitted to Icarus within the next two weeks (following 
coauthor review) . 

* Complete and publish analysis of P131.1 SpeX data (PI, TS) 

This project was put on hold, in favor of working with our Williams colleagues on further analysis of 
the UH 2.2m light curve for P131.1. The results of this work are now in press (Pasachoff, et al. 2005 
\ — see below) . 


\ Predict and observe the Tr266 occultation (PI, TS) 

event was attempted at the IRTF (in collaboration with Leslie Young), but the conditions proved 
\poor to get good results, unfortunately. 

YLete analysis and publish the Magellan resolved photometry for Pluto-Charon (TS, PI, G) 

\ been completed (Clancy et al. 2005 — see below). 

Allison Cocuzzo <> 



Jatees Elliot, 1/21/05 1:33 PM -0500, Progress Report for 0NNGO4GF25G (through 2005- 

* Refine astrometric predictions to high accuracy for 2004 events in Table 1 {PD, TS) 

We examined these events further, but none proved sufficiently good to warrant an observational 

* Begin candidate search program with USNO-B for KBOs (PD) 

The software for this has been completed, and candidate lists have been generated. Before viable 
candidates can be identified, however, we need to improve the KBO orbits (see below). 

* Magellan guide camera software upgrades to enable occultation observations (PD) 

We are discussing this upgrade with other Magellan users in order to share the software effort (to 
reduce its cost). 

* Photometric observations of promising candidate stars not in UCAC2 (TS) 

Observing plans are in progress. 

* Compile and publish initial list of KBO occultation candidates, 2004-2010 (PD, TS, PI) 

Although we have candidate lists (see above), most of these will not be observable from Earth because 
the KBO orbit errors are too large. We have begun to make the necessary orbit improvements with an 
observational program at Lowell Observatory (see next item). 

* KBO orbit refinement and occultation observations (PI, PD, TS) 

Observations for this are underway on a bi-monthly basis at Lowell Observatory, and we have discussed 
with Brian Marsden about beta testing the proposed new MPC format to flag the high-quality KBO 
astrometry (needed from the entire community to generate more accurate orbits). 

* Possibly observe P257 in Western US and P228.1 in Australia (PI, G) 

These events are not as favorable as the C313.2 Charon occultation that should be visible from South 
America on 2005 July 11 (UT). We are in close contact with our Williams College colleagues about a 
major observational effort on this. We cure also coordinating with Leslie Young at SWRI. 

* Initial analysis of successful events prepared for publication (PI, PD, G, TS) 

A first look analysis of the 2003 November Titan occultation (a data set obtained by A. Fitzsimmons 
and his colleagues) has been completed by graduate student Angela Zalucha. 

* Refine astrometric predictions to high accuracy for 2005 events in Table 1 (TS, G) 

A major effort is underway to refine the prediction for this summer's Charon occultation (C313.2 
event ) . 


C. Second Year (2005-02-01->2006-01-31) 

* Complete analysis of successful 2006 events Charon (PD, PI), Pluto (PI, PD), Triton (PI, G) 

We are anticipating a good data set for the Charon occultation this summer (if the weather 
cooperates ) . 

* KBO orbit refinement and occultation observations (PI, PD, TS) 

This work is underway and will continue. 

* Possibly observe P289 in Hawaii (PI, TS, G) 

This looks like a miss. 

* Possibly observe P/C292 or Tr284 in Australia (PI, PD) 

We have decided that the prospects for the C313.2 event are much better, so we are planning to observe 
it instead. 

* Refine astrometric predictions to high accuracy for 2006 events in Table 1 (TS, G) 

This will go forward, with an emphasis on the C313.2 event. 

* Initial analysis of successful events prepared for publication (PI, PD, G) 

We expect to prepare a paper on the 2003 November Titan occultation, that is currently being analyzed 
by graduate student A. Zalucha (under supervision of the PI). 

Printed for Allison Cocuzzo <> 



James Elliot, 1/21/05 1:33 PM -0500, Progress Report for^NNG04GF25G (through 2005- 

PUBLICATIONS (2003-2005) 

Clancy, K. B., J. L. Elliot, and M. J. Person 2005- Charon/Pluto Light Ratio. In Highlights of 
Astronomy Ed. ) , pp. (in press). 

Person, M. J., J. L. Elliot, K. A. Emanuel, J. M. Pasachoff, B. A. Babcock, S. P. Souza, M. W. Buie, 

E. W. Dunham, B. W. Taylor, A. S. Bosh, L. C. Roberts Jr., D. T. Hall, D. J. Tholen, S. S. Eikenberry, 
and S. E. Levine 2005. Pluto's lumpy atmosphere. Icarus (to be submitted). 

Elliot, J. L., A. Ates, B. A. Babcock, A. S. Bosh, M. W. Buie, K. B. Clancy, E, W. Dunham, S. S. 

Eikenberry, D. T. Hall, S. D. Kern, S. K. Leggett, S. E. Levine, D.-S. Moon, C. B. Olkin, D. J. Osip, 

J. M. Pasachoff, B. E. Penprase, M. J. Person, S. Qu, J. T. Rayner, L. C. Roberts Jr., C. v. Salyk, S. 

P. Souza, R. C. Stone, B. W. Taylor, D. J. Tholen, J. E. Thomas-Osip, D. R. Ticehurst, and L. H. 

Wasserman 2003. The recent expansion of Pluto's atmosphere- Nature 424, 165-168. 

Elliot, J. L., and S. D. Kern 2003. Pluto's atmosphere and a targeted-occult at ion search for other 
bound KBO atmospheres. Earth, Moon, and Planets 92, 375-393- 

Elliot, J. L., S. D. Kern, K. B. Clancy, A. A. S. Gulbis, R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman, 

E. I. Chiang, A. B. Jordan, D. E. Trilling, and K. J. Meech 2005. The Deep Ecliptic Survey: A search 
for Kuiper belt objects and Centaurs. II. Dynamical classification, the Kuiper belt plane, and the 
core population. Astron. J. 129, (in press). 

Elliot, J. L. , M. J. Person, and S. Qu 2003. Analysis of stellar occultation data. II. Inversion, with 
application to Pluto and Triton. Astron. J. 126, 1041-1079. 

Pasachoff, J. M. , S. P. Souza, B- A. Babcock, D. R. Ticehurst, J. L. Elliot, M. J. Person, K. B. 
clancy, L. C. Roberts Jr., D. T. Hall, and D. J. Tholen 2005. The structure of Pluto’s atmosphere form 
the 2002 August 21 stellar occultation. Astron. J. 129, (in press). 

Person, M. J., J- L. Elliot, K. A. Emanuel, J. M. Pasachoff, B. A. Babcock, S. P. Souza, M. W. Buie, 

E. W. Dunham, B. W. Taylor, A. S. Bosh, L. C. Roberts Jr., D. T. Hall, D. J. Tholen, S. S. Eikenberry, 
and S. E. Levine 2005. Pluto's lumpy atmosphere. Icarus (to be submitted). 

Printed for Allison Cocuzzo <>