August 1, 2015.
Broadband Photometry was obtained to provide data on Pluto, discovered on January 23, 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Our data was collected over a series of four nights of time-resolved Bessel BVRI photometry using the 0.6-m telescope at the JPL Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) located in Wrightwood, California. Our collected data will complement the data obtained by the New Horizons mission to calculate Pluto’s solar phase curve at opposition. The primary objective of our work will be to analyze the solar phase curve of Pluto while it is at opposition. Our work will help in understanding Pluto. It will also provide evidence for seasonal transportation of volatiles within Pluto’s atmosphere. Our data will be analyzed through various programs, where we will use both biases and sky-flats to make any correction to the images of Pluto we’ve obtained (i.e debris). Once we have analyzed the data, we will be able to calculate and plot Pluto’s solar phase curve. Our data will be used to complement the data obtained by the New Horizons mission and possibly answer questions regarding the seasonal transport of volatiles as found on Pluto, as well as the albedo patterns.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and is made possible with contributions from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1340110, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevron Corporation, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and from the host research center. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely those of the authors. The STAR Program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in STEM Education on behalf of the California State University system.