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New astrometric observations of Deimos with the SRC on Mars Express

New astrometric observations of Deimos with the SRC on Mars Express

Publication date: 25 September 2012

Authors: Pasewaldt, A., et al.

Journal: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume: 545
Page: A144
Year: 2012

Copyright: ESO, 2012

Between July 2005 and July 2011 Mars Express performed 50 Deimos approaches. 136 super resolution channel (SRC) images were acquired and used for astrometric (positional) measurements of the small Martian satellite. For this study, we have developed a new technique, in which the center-of-figure of the odd-shaped Deimos is determined by fitting the predicted to the observed satellite limb. The prediction of the limb was made based on the moon's known shape model. The camera pointing was verified and corrected for by means of background star observations. We obtained a set of spacecraft-centered Deimos coordinates with accuracies between 0.6 and 3.6 km (1Ã). Comparisons with current orbit models indicate that Deimos is ahead of or falling behind its predicted position along its track by as much as +3.4 km or -4.7 km, respectively, depending on the chosen model. Our data may be used to improve the orbit models of the satellite.

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