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Saturn's rings: Spectral reflectivity and compositional implications

Authors
Journal
Icarus
0019-1035
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
13
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0019-1035(70)90053-9
Disciplines
  • Astronomy
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract A photometric study of the rings of Saturn was carried out during the 1969 apparition. A reflection spectrum of the A and B rings was obtained for the spectral region 0.3–1.05 μ. The reflectivity for both rings decreases sharply toward blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. A comparison of the ring reflection spectrum with spectra for other solar system objects shows that the ring curve most closely resembles the curve for the Galilean satellite J1. The ring spectrum lacks distinctive absorption features found in lunar, Martian, and Vesta spectra in the 0.3–1.1 μ region. Absorption features characteristic of water frost have been found recently in the 1.25–2.5 μ region, but the decrease in reflectivity of the rings toward shorter wavelengths indicates that material other than pure water frost also must be present. A physical mixture of frost and silicates seems to be unlikely as ring material. Frost-covered silicates and mixtures of frosts with other compounds, perhaps modified by ultraviolet or high-energy particle radiation, remain possible ring constituents.

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