Occultations of Faint Stars by Neptune and its Rings: 1992-1999

Douglas J. Mink
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Sara Maene, Richard G. French
Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02181
Arnold R. Klemola
UCO/Lick Observatory, Board of Studies in Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064


There are still many uncertainties concerning the nature of Neptune's rings, and observations of additional occultations of stars by those rings may resolve some of them. As Neptune moves away from the galactic plane during the 1990's, there are fewer stars in its path. The search undertaken by Klemola and Mink (1991) has been extended to the limit of their plates, a V magnitude of approximately 15.5, to yield more possible occultations. Circumstances for the close approaches of Neptune to 68 stars during the period from 1992 through 1999 are presented. Seventeen possible occultations of these stars by Neptune's ring arcs were found out of 40 occultations by the ring plane. Photometry of selected candidates has shown that some have a K magnitude brighter than 11.

Presented at the Neptune/Triton Conference in Tucson, Arizona, January, 1992

Published in 1992 in Icarus, Volume 99, pages 430-435