37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 56 TNOs and Centaurs
Poster, Thursday, September 8, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[56.13] The Kuiper Belt explorated by Stellar Occultations

F. Roques, A. Doressoundiram (Observatoire de Paris,France)

The small end of the size distribution as the outer limit of the Kuiper Belt are not accessible to direct observations. It is very important to go past the present observational limits to build a correct model of this Disk. Stellar occultations are a powerful tool to detect sub-kilometer-sized objects in the Kuiper Belt and to provide a decisive constraint on the size and radial distributions.

Observations have been performed with the WHT in Canarias and with a Very Large Telescope of ESO, equipped with the ultra-fast, triple beam camera Ultracam. The flux of two stars have been recorded with a time frequency larger than 40 Hz in three wavelengths. The comparison of the simultaneous ligthcurves of two nearby stars, separated by a few arcseconds, allow discrimination of false events. The spectral signature of the diffracting occultation can be tested. The results of these observations are presented. We report the first detections of hectometre-sized TNO at a few tenth to hundredth of AU. With such detections, we statistically explore the size distribution of the TNOs. This show that the Kuiper Belt could be more extended than presently known and that the outer part of the disk could be composed of smaller objects than in the inner region.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.