Astrophysics (Index)About

occultation observations

(gathering astronomical information through measuring occultations)

Occultation observations consist of recording occultations, instances of one astronomical body temporarily hiding another from our view, including their position and timing. Such information allows us to gather data on the nearer body that cannot be observed through its own reflected or generated radiation. While a body may be too small and distant to be seen, its ability to block incoming light of a more distant body remains. Furthermore, even when direct observation is possible, it may be far more expensive.

Occultation is especially valuable for studying solar system bodies, which commonly occult stars. Information includes the fine points of the orbit and shape of the object. Some objects studied:

One discovery made by occultation observation is the rings of 10199 Chariklo.

Occultation can also be used to study the more distant body: the occultation of a radio source behind the Moon can assist in correctly associating it with a visible object. Asteroid occultation is also of interest, potentially providing distances in astronomical unit, and with the potential to generate interference which can be analyzed.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
high-resolution imaging
ring system
stellar radius determination