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High Precision Astrometry of Occultation Asteroids
Mentor: William Owen Jr. (JPL)

CURE students will learn how to plan and obtain astrometric (position) observations of selected minor planets using the 0.6-m telescope at JPL's Table Mountain Observatory. They will participate in the subsequent analysis and reduction of their data, and they will be credited in all measurements that are transmitted to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. Their results will thus be available worldwide so that astronomers can update the orbits of the asteroids which the students observed. The observing program will place particular emphasis on those asteroids which are shortly to pass in front of ("occult") stars as seen from some places on the earth. The observations are thus used to update the location of the ground track for these events. In each of the past two years several dozen asteroid occultations have been observed thanks to such late updates.

CURE student tasks: Properties of asteroids, planning, observations, and data analysis.

CURE interns:

  • Amanda McAuley, Fall 09 -
  • Jennifer Shitanishi, Fall 09 - Spring 10
  • Tzitlaly Barajas, Fall 09 -
  • James Foster, Fall 09 -
  • Karen Garcia, Summer 2010 -
  • Tino Truong, Fall 2010 -
  • Sarah Estabrook, Summer 2012
  • Brandon Day, Summer 2012, Fall 2012

K. Garcia and K. Andersen (SURF), Presentation at the JPL Seminar Days 2010.