QUOTE (Rob Pinnegar @ Aug 9 2006, 03:28 PM)
Cute (and interesting).
Next on the agenda, I guess, will be looking at other X-ray sources at various ecliptic latitudes. If this idea is Kosher, those micro-occultations ought to decrease in frequency away from the ecliptic.
For those who may not have access to Nature
, you may wish to check out the Supplementary Information for the Chang et al. paper
. I believe Nature
makes all Supplementary Information
freely available, and sometimes it's pretty insightful.
As for future observations of this type, Chang et al
. merely conclude with:
More RXTE observations of Sco X-1 are needed to improve the statistics of our current results. Future X-ray observations of Sco X-1 and other sources with new instruments of higher sensitivity could build on this discovery to shed further light on the formation of our Solar System.
However, an excerpt (references omitted) from Asantha Cooray's accompanying News and Views piece is, pardon the play on words, a little more illuminating:
But despite the high X-ray luminosity of the Scorpius X-1 source, it was not bright enough to allow a study of these expected small changes. A dedicated space-based monitoring mission, optimized for precision stellar occultation measurements at millisecond time intervals, could search for diffraction patterns to establish the exact extent of the debris field. Whipple, a mission currently under consideration by NASA, would be able to monitor occultations due to small bodies as far away as the hypothesized Oort cloud at the extreme edge of the Solar System.