Here we present observations of seven large Kuiper Belt objects. From these observations, weextract a point source catalog with ~0:01″ precision, and astrometry of our target Kuiper Belt objects with0.04-0.08″ precision within that catalog. We have developed a new technique to predict the future occurrenceof stellar occultations by Kuiper Belt objects. The technique makes use of a maximum likelihood approach whichdetermines the best-fit adjustment to cataloged orbital elements of an object. Using simulations of a theoreticalobject, we discuss the merits and weaknesses of this technique compared to the commonly adopted ephemeris offsetapproach. We demonstrate that both methods suffer from separate weaknesses, and thus together provide a fairassessment of the true uncertainty in a particular prediction. We present occultation predictions made by both methodsfor the seven tracked objects, with dates as late as 2015. Finally, we discuss observations of three separate closepassages of Quaoar to field stars, which reveal the accuracy of the element adjustment approach, and which alsodemonstrate the necessity of considering the uncertainty in stellar position when assessing potential occultations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|State||Published - Aug 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science