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«Received ; accepted PASP revised manuscript, 12 Aug 96, proofs to NZ 1 with Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Division of Astronomy and ...»

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For a 1 degree FOV astrometric survey telescope, our result scales to 4.3 mas noise contributed by the atmosphere for 100–second exposures. This is considerably less than previously expected. Thus the limit to ground–based wide field astrometric observations as set by the atmosphere has not yet been reached for long integration times (≥ 100 seconds) because of the relatively large base–level noise of ≈ 0.015 pixels, which is on the order of 6 to 15 mas, depending on the sampling.

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Han, I. 1989, AJ 97, 607 Han,I., Gatewood,G.D., 1995, PASP 107, 399 Johnston, K.J., Russell, J.L., de Vegt, C., Zacharias, N., Hindsley, R., Hughes, J., Jauncey, D.L., Reynolds, J.E., Nicholson, G. and Ma, C. 1991, in Reference Systems, Proceedings of IAU Colloq. 127, ed. J.A.Hughes, C.A.Smith and G.H.Kaplan, Washington D.C., US Naval Observatory, p. 123 Kleine, T. 1983, dissertation Univ.of Hamburg Lindegren, L. 1980, A&A 89, 41 Monet, D.G. and Monet, A.K.B. 1992, Bull. AAS 24, 1238 Monet, D.G. private communication Stone,R.C., Monet,D.G., Monet,A.K.B., Walker,R.L., Ables,H.D., Bird,A.R. and Harris,F.H. 1996, AJ 111, 1721 Winter, L. 1996, dissertation Univ. of Hamburg, in preparation Zacharias,N., de Vegt,C., Winter,L. and Johnston,K. 1995, AJ 110, 3093 Zacharias,N. and Rafferty,T. 1995, Bull.AAS 27, 1302 Zacharias,N. 1997, in preparation for AJ

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Fig. 1.— Precision in the y–coordinate (along α) for star image profile fits of a typical CCD frame vs. instrumental magnitude. This example is from a 40 second exposure obtained at the KPNO 0.9–meter telescope in 1.6” seeing. The scale is 0.01 pixel = 6.8 mas.

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in s−1 for an example from KPNO observations. The filled circles are for the x–coordinate (δ) and the open boxes are for the y–coordinate (α). Fit results are shown as dotted, full and dashed lines (y only, x only, both coordinates).

Fig. 3.— Error contribution by the atmosphere to differential astrometry vs. FWHM of image profiles, scaled to the zenith. Full circles and open boxes show results from the KPNO and CTIO telescopes respectively. Only results of the linear x, y transformation model are shown here.

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tel. date z FWHM nexp σa error σb error σan (ymd) (degree) (arcsec) (mas) (mas) (mas) (mas) (mas) K 940420 6 2.00 4 62 9 7.0 0.5 5.9 74 6 7.5 0.3 7.1 K 940422 21 2.10 4 39 15 10.2 1.0 3.6 50 16 10.3 1.2 4.5 K 940423 17 2.65 3 68 13 8.2 3.0 6.3 60 15 10.1 2.9 5.5 K 941020 44 1.70 4 43 12 9.1 0.9 3.1 35 20 12.0 1.2 2.5 K 950613 1 1.65 4 31 7 8.8 0.5 3.0 36 10 9.0 0.7 3.5 K 950615 12 2.10 4 72 6 9.1 0.5 6.8 80 7 8.9 0.6 7.5 K 950617 15 1.30 4 38 6 7.9 0.5 3.6 39 7 8.0 0.6 3.7 K 960105 15 1.20 5 39 8 8.8 0.9 3.6 45 7 9.2 0.9 4.1 C 941215 17 1.35 5 54 7 5.8 0.7 6.0 65 10 7.4 1.1 7.3 C 950213 1 1.30 4 39 6 6.5 0.6 4.4 75 4 9.2 0.5 8.5 C 950917 1 1.60 4 67 6 5.9 0.8 7.6 72 15 7.8 1.6 8.2

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