Ultraviolet observations of small bodies in the solar system by OAO-2

  • Caldwell J
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Abstract

Broadband filter photometry from 2100 to 4300 Å has been obtained by OAO-2 for the following objects: The Galilean satellites; Titan; the rings of Saturn; and three asteroids. Agreement with independent ground-based photometry in the region of overlap is good. The previously known decrease in reflectivity from visual to ground-based ultraviolet wavelengths continues to 2590 Å for all these objects. Europa's reflectivity continues to decline towards 2110 Å, and the rings' reflectivity levels off from 2590 to 2110 Å. Other targets were too faint at 2110 Å to be measured reliably by OAO-2. The low ultraviolet albedo of Titan has important implications for that planet's atmospheric structure (Caldwell, Larach, and Danielson, 1973; Danielson, Caldwell, and Larach, 1973; Caldwell, 1974b). The ultraviolet reflectivity of Saturn's rings is suggestive of a two-component system, one being pure H2O particles. The ultraviolet albedos of the Galilean satellites are consistent with existing upper limits for atmospheric abundances, but require either that former estimates of the fractional coverage of H2O frost are too high, an unlikely circumstance, or that the frost has been darkened by some external agent in the space environment. © 1975.

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Authors

  • John Caldwell

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