Two-micron spectrophotometry of Uranus and its rings

P. D. Nicholson, T. J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Multiaperture K photometry and 2.0- to 2.5-μm spectrophotometry of Uranus and its ring system are presented. The photometric results are used, together with a previously published measurement, to set limits on the geometric albedos of Uranus and the rings at ∼2.2 μm: (0.74 ± 0.02) × 10(su-4) ≤ p K (Uranus) ≤ (1.5 ± 0.3) × 10 -4 , and (2.7 ± 0.6) × 10 -2 ≤ p K (rings) ≤ (3.4 ± 0.1) × 10 -2 . Reflectance spectra of Uranus and Uranus plus rings show features in the planet's spectrum which are attributed to gaseous CH 4 absorption, and a 2.20-μm feature in the combined spectrum which may be due to the rings. This feature is tentatively identified with either the 2.26-μm absorption feature of NH 3 frost, or the 2.2-μm OH band exhibited by certain silicate minerals. The results of JHK photometry of Uranus' satellite, Ariel (U1), indicate that the infrared colors of this object are very similar to those of the satellites U2, U3, and U4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-67
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1980

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