Recent Solar Oblateness Observations: Data, Interpretation, and Significance for Experimental Relativity
The shape of the sun has been under study for almost two and a half centuries, during which time the accuracy of the measurements performed has improved considerably. However, it is only within the last decade or so that these measurements have attained sufficient precision to have a significant impact on solar physics and experimental relativity. At SCLERA,† contributions to this improved accuracy have included the use of a daytime astrometric telescope (Oleson et al. 1974) and the development of an explicit definition of the sun’s edge (Hill, Stebbins and Oleson 1975). This Finite Fourier Transform Definition (FFTD) of an edge of the solar disk offers extreme sensitivity to changes in the limb darkening function while minimizing the effects of atmospheric and instrumental seeing.
KeywordsPolar Diameter Standard Solar Model Solar Oblateness High Altitude Observatory Minute Minute
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