Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Physics & Astronomy
Charles R. Alcock
The characteristics of the populations of objects that inhabit the outer solar system carry the fingerprint of the processes that governed the formation and evolution of the solar system. Occultation surveys push the limit of observation into the very small and distant outer solar system objects, allowing us to set constraints on the structure of the Kuiper belt, Scattered disk and Sedna populations. I collected, reduced, and analyzed vast datasets looking for occultations of stars by outer solar system objects, both working with the Taiwanese American Occultation Survey (TAOS) collaboration and leading the MMT/Megacam occultation effort. Having found no such events in my data, I was able to place upper limits on the Kuiper belt, scattered disk and Sedna population. These limits and their derivation are described here.
Bianco, Federica, "Chasing Shadows in the Outer Solar System" (2010). Publicly accessible Penn Dissertations. Paper 176.