Measurement of the radius of Mercury by radio occultation during the MESSENGER flybys
Perry, Mark E. and Kahan, Daniel S. and Barnouin, Olivier S. and Ernst, Carolyn M. and Solomon, Sean C. and Zuber, Maria T. and Smith, David E. and Phillips, Roger J. and Srinivasan, Dipak K. and Oberst, Jürgen and Asmar, Sami W. (2011) Measurement of the radius of Mercury by radio occultation during the MESSENGER flybys. Planetary and Space Science, 59 (15), pp. 1925-1931. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2011.07.022.
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The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft completed three flybys of Mercury in 2008–2009. During the first and third of those flybys, MESSENGER passed behind the planet from the perspective of Earth, occulting the radio-frequency (RF) transmissions. The occultation start and end times, recovered with 0.1 s accuracy or better by fitting edge-diffraction patterns to the RF power history, are used to estimate Mercury's radius at the tangent point of the RF path. To relate the measured radius to the planet shape, we evaluate local topography using images to identify the high-elevation feature that defines the RF path or using altimeter data to quantify surface roughness. Radius measurements are accurate to 150 m, and uncertainty in the average radius of the surrounding terrain, after adjustments are made from the local high at the tangent point of the RF path, is 350 m. The results are consistent with Mercury's equatorial shape as inferred from observations by the Mercury Laser Altimeter and ground-based radar. The three independent estimates of radius from occultation events collectively yield a mean radius for Mercury of 2439.2±0.5 km.
|Title:||Measurement of the radius of Mercury by radio occultation during the MESSENGER flybys|
|Date:||07 September 2011|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Planetary and Space Science|
|In Open Access:||No|
|In ISI Web of Science:||Yes|
|Page Range:||pp. 1925-1931|
|Keywords:||Mercury, Messenger, radio occultattion, radius, RF|
|HGF - Research field:||Aeronautics, Space and Transport|
|HGF - Program:||Raumfahrt|
|HGF - Program Themes:||R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums|
|DLR - Research area:||Raumfahrt|
|DLR - Program:||R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums|
|DLR - Research theme (Project):||R - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems|
|Institutes and Institutions:||Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geodesy|
|Deposited By:||Marita Wählisch|
|Deposited On:||10 Jan 2012 12:16|
|Last Modified:||26 Mar 2013 13:36|
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