100 Years of Occultations

Douglas. J. Mink

Over the past 40 years, stellar occultations have been use to probe planetary atmospheres and study the structures of planetary ring systems. This has been made easier by the location of many of the outer planets in star-dense regions near the galactic plane. The release of the Hipparcos Tycho Catalog this year provides a larger set of accurate star positions and photmonetry with which we can probe the distribution of occultations over the 100 years from 1950 to 2050, The results show how lucky recent astronomers have been, what is in store for the future, and what great occultations were missed in the past. Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto results will be online soon.

Presented as a poster at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Society at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts July 28 - August 1, 1997