Speckle interferometric observations of Pluto and Charon

E. K. Hege, E. N. Hubbard, J. D. Drummond, P. A. Strittmatter, S. P. Worden, T. Lauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We report speckle interferometric observations of Pluto and its moon (1978 P1) Charon obtained on 5 June 1980 with a single 1.8-m mirror of the Multiple Mirror Telescope. Our observations yield a separation of 0″.31 (±0″.05) between Pluto and Charon at position angle 285° (±7°) for JD 2444395.75. This result and other direct observations indicate an adjustment of +4.0 hr to the orbital epoch of R. S. Harrington and J. W. Christy [Astron.J.86, 442-443 (1981)]. Our observation, which represents the first resolution of the system near minimum separation, also suggests that the inclination of the orbit to the plane of the sky should be increased by 3°; this will delay the onset of the predicted eclipsee season by one apparition to 1984 or 1985. Our data are consistent with Pluto diameter 0″.14 (±0″.02) = 3000 (±400) km and Charon diameter 0″..05 (±0″.03) = 1100 (±600) km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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