Pluto's Spectrum from 1.0 to 4.2 μm: Implications for Surface Properties

Abstract : We present spectra of Pluto's anti-Charon hemisphere obtained from the Keck and Subaru telescopes from 2.8 to 4.2 μm. Combined with 1-2.5 μm spectra from the Infrared Telescope Facility, this collective data set lets us constrain several surface frost properties. The surface area of pure nitrogen frost (as opposed to nitrogen with dissolved methane) is constrained to be 6% or less. The areal fractions of pure methane and methane dissolved in nitrogen are almost equal. The grain size of pure methane is constrained to be near 200 μm. An additional surface component with spectral properties similar to Titan tholin was necessary to fit the entire 1-4.2 μm spectrum; our best-fit model requires 21% of Pluto's anti-Charon hemisphere (by area) to be this Titan tholin component. Contrary to Sasaki et al.'s spectra of Pluto's sub-Charon hemisphere, we find no evidence for other hydrocarbons on this face of Pluto from data in the 3-3.3 μm region. We were not able to constrain the temperature of pure methane.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 9, 2009 - 8:30:04 AM
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C. B. Olkin, E. F. Young, L. A. Young, W. Grundy, Bernard Schmitt, et al.. Pluto's Spectrum from 1.0 to 4.2 μm: Implications for Surface Properties. Astronomical Journal, American Astronomical Society, 2007, 133 (2), pp.420-431. ⟨10.1086/509616⟩. ⟨insu-00359622⟩

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