A multi-chord stellar occultation by the large trans-Neptunian object (174567) Varda

Damya Souami, F. Braga-Ribas, B. Sicardy
2020 Astronomy and Astrophysics  
Context. We present results from the first recorded stellar occultation by the large trans-Neptunian object (174567) Varda that was observed on September 10, 2018. Varda belongs to the high-inclination dynamically excited population, and has a satellite, Ilmarë, which is half the size of Varda. Aims. We determine the size and albedo of Varda and constrain its 3D shape and density. Methods. Thirteen different sites in the USA monitored the event, five of which detected an occultation by the main
more » ... body. A bestfitting ellipse to the occultation chords provides the instantaneous limb of the body, from which the geometric albedo is computed. The size and shape of Varda are evaluated, and its bulk density is constrained using Varda's mass as is known from previous works. Results. The best-fitting elliptical limb has a semi-major (equatorial) axis of (381±3) km and an apparent oblateness of 0.043±0.036, corresponding to an apparent area-equivalent radius R equiv = (373 ± 8) km and geometric albedo p v = 0.097 ± 0.004 assuming a visual absolute magnitude H V = 3.81 ± 0.01. Using three possible rotational periods for the body (4.76 h, 5.91 h, and 7.87 h), we derive corresponding MacLaurin solutions. Furthermore, given the low-amplitude (0.06 ± 0.01) mag of the single-peaked rotational lightcurve for these periods, we consider the double periods. For the 5.91 h period (the most probable) and its double (11.82 h), we find bulk densities and a true oblateness of ρ = (1.80 ± 0.05) g cm −3 , = 0.232 ± 0.036, and ρ = (1.25 ± 0.04) g cm −3 , = 0.079 ± 0.044. However, its must be noted that the other solutions cannot be excluded just yet.
doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202038526 fatcat:guk2sqenmzej7amuvt6n43h36u