Galilean Satellites: Identification of Water Frost

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Science  08 Dec 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4065, pp. 1087-1089
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4065.1087


Water frost absorptions have been detected in the infrared reflectivities of Jupiter's Galilean satellites JII (Europa) and JIII (Ganymede). We have determined the percentage of frost-covered surface area to be 50 to 100 percent for JII, 20 to 65 percent for JIII, and possibly 5 to 25 percent for JIV (Callisto). The leading side of JIII has 20 percent more frost cover than the trailing side, which explains the visible geometric albedo differences between the two sides. The reflectivity of the material underlying the frost on JII, JIII, and JIV resembles that of silicates. The surface of JI (Io) may be covered by frost particles much smaller than those on JII and JIII.