Journal Article

A new astrometric reduction of photographic plates using the DAMIAN digitizer: improving the dynamics of the Jovian system

V. Robert, J.-P. De Cuyper, J.-E. Arlot, G. de Decker, J. Guibert, V. Lainey, D. Pascu, L. Winter and N. Zacharias

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 1, pages 701-708
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.18747.x
A new astrometric reduction of photographic plates using the DAMIAN digitizer: improving the dynamics of the Jovian system

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The astrometric monitoring of the natural planetary satellites is an important step to assess the formation and the evolution of these systems. However, in order to quantify relevant gravitational effects such as tidal forces, it is necessary to have very accurate observations over a long time interval. Unfortunately, the accuracy is decreasing as one considers older observations. To solve this issue, digitizing of old photographic plates is an attractive method, but a high accuracy in the measurement and the reduction of those plates is absolutely necessary.

We have developed methods and algorithms adapted to specific plates provided by USNO, using the DAMIAN digitizer of ROB. From a set of 35 plates taken in 1974, we have been able to produce measurements with an accuracy better than 0.08 μm and after reduction using the UCAC2 catalogue, rms residuals of 35 mas (1.7 μm) for intersatellite positions (when the original reduction provided 100 mas) and of 65 mas for equatorial RA and Dec. positions (which were not possible to get with the original reduction). First results on the dynamics of the satellites and of the planet Jupiter are provided.

Keywords: techniques: image processing; astrometry; ephemerides; planets and satellites: general

Journal Article.  5088 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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