Ultraviolet Photometer Observations of the Saturnian System

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Science  25 Jan 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4429, pp. 431-434
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4429.431


Several interesting cloud and atmospheric features of the Saturn system have been observed by the long-wavelength channel of the two-channel ultraviolet photometer aboard the Pioneer Saturn spacecraft. Reported are observations of the most obvious features, including a Titan-associated cloud, a ring cloud, and the variation of atmospheric emission across Saturn's disk. The long-wavelength data for Titan suggest that a cloud of atomic hydrogen extends at least 5 Saturn radii along its orbit and about 1.5 Saturn radii vertically. A ring cloud, thought to be atomic hydrogen, has also been observed by the long-wavelength channel of the photometer; it shows significant enhancement in the vicinity of the B ring. Finally, spatially resolved observations of Saturn's disk show significant latitudinal variation. Possible explanations of the variation include aurora or limb brightening.