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KBO encounters
Gerald
post May 23 2016, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE (HSchirmer @ May 21 2016, 10:14 PM) *
...
Real interesting thing is whether they can be synchronized, like the VLA, as a synthetic aperture array. Would be really interesting to have a 10 telescope array functioning as a 13 million meter telescope.

This would require to combine them as an interferometer.
This means essentially redirecting the light of the telescopes to a common instrument. At least within my limited knowledge, that's currently not technically feasible over thousands of km in the optical range of wavelengths.
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xflare
post Jul 5 2016, 06:15 PM
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http://phys.org/news/2016-04-pluto-horizon...lt-journey.html

QUOTE
The new mission is on target for a Jan. 1, 2019, flyby of Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69, but that is one of many, said Stern. New Horizons spacecraft could visit 20 different Kuiper Belt Objects. The spacecraft is currently healthy and has enough power for 20 years, he added.


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elakdawalla
post Jul 5 2016, 06:25 PM
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I suspect that's a misunderstanding of the intent to study phase functions of 20 Kuiper belt objects from afar, during the cruise, not to "visit" them in the sense of doing flybys.


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Alan Stern
post Jul 5 2016, 06:58 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jul 5 2016, 06:25 PM) *
I suspect that's a misunderstanding of the intent to study phase functions of 20 Kuiper belt objects from afar, during the cruise, not to "visit" them in the sense of doing flybys.



We will do much more than just phase curves-- also lightcurves, shapes, ring searches, possibly even atmospheric searches using stellar occultations, but we won't be close enough to resolve any except MU69. As to that target though, we will come closer and plan to do much higher resolution imaging than we did at Pluto.
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TheAnt
post Jul 7 2016, 03:07 PM
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Thank you for the clearification Alan. smile.gif
And yes there's at least one small object with a ring, Chariklo - a double one. So it rings might be well worth looking for.


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Roby72
post Jul 8 2016, 09:38 PM
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A new PIs perspective about the KEM mission of NH
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Ron Hobbs
post Dec 23 2016, 04:36 AM
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Exploring Pluto and a Billion Miles Beyond
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Explorer1
post Feb 1 2017, 08:51 PM
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Another TCM completed! https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-r...-for-next-flyby
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Explorer1
post Apr 4 2017, 04:18 AM
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Halfway there:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-h...xt-flyby-target

Images taken of where MU69 should be but its still invisible...
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Tom Womack
post Apr 6 2017, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Apr 4 2017, 05:18 AM) *
Halfway there:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-h...xt-flyby-target

Images taken of where MU69 should be but its still invisible...


The image runs without trouble through astrometry.net; scale is 1.06 arc-seconds per pixel, it's in northern Sagittarius (18 18 49 -20 53 13)

http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/1573114#annotated

The fuzzy blob in the top right corner is a reflection nebula, so an honest fuzzy blob on the sky; the optical portion doesn't seem to have a name, the nebula is much more obvious in infra-red (use sky.esa.int and the 2MASS sky)
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Alan Stern
post Jun 2 2017, 12:08 PM
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The first of the three stellar occultation of MU69 and its Hill Sphere is tonight. We've got over 50 telescopes-- half fixed assets, half mobile in South America and South Africa. Prime objective: probe for rings, debris, moons. Secondary objective: Get a physical size constraint on MU69!
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JRehling
post Jun 2 2017, 08:49 PM
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Very exciting, Alan! That dense star field of the Milky Way in the background is paying off!
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Explorer1
post Jun 2 2017, 11:22 PM
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Agreed. To see an outline of an object a year and a half before closest approach (and over 40 AU away from the Earth!) is nothing short of amazing. The mission just keeps setting records...
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stevesliva
post Jun 7 2017, 08:33 PM
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Sounds like there were clear skies and data was gathered on both continents. I have not found any other teasers about success or results, though... anyone else?
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JRehling
post Jun 8 2017, 07:40 PM
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According to comments on Twitter, data collection was successful, but the analysis will take weeks. My takeaway from that is that:

1) There's a low signal-to-noise per observation.
2) They'll want to embargo any readings fresh off someone's computer terminal until they can make a coherent statement.

To comment further, the duration of the occultation was expected to be quite brief. In that case, any given observation with a single instrument would be very noisy due to variability in the Earth's atmosphere, AKA "seeing" -> the reason why stars twinkle. Even a bright star can vary dramatically in apparent brightness as air lenses the star's light in complex, shifting ways. In a case like an MU69 occultation, it could be that no single telescope can produce a clear detection/nondetection, but a set of telescopes can.
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