Photometry from Voyager 2: Initial Results from the Uranian Atmosphere, Satellites, and Rings

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Science  04 Jul 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4759, pp. 65-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4759.65


The Voyager 2 photopolarimeter successfully completed the Uranus encounter, acquiring new data on the planet's atmosphere, its principal satellites, and its ring system. Spatially resolved photometry of the atmosphere at 0.27 micrometer shows no enhancement in absorption toward the pole, unlike the case for Jupiter and Saturn. Stellar occultation measurements indicate the temperature at the 1-millibar level over the north pole is near 90 kelvins. The geometric albedos of the five large satellites of Uranus were measured at 0.27 and 0.75 micrometer and indicate the presence of low albedo, spetrally flat absorbing material. Titania seems to have a fluffy surface, as indicated by its phase curve. The nine ground-based rings were detected, and their internal structure, optical depths, and positions were determined. The sharp edges of the ∈ ring made it possible to measure its edge thickness (less than 150 meters) and particle sizes (less than 30 meters); little or no dust was detcted. New narrow rings and partial rings (arcs) were measured, and the narrow component of the η ring was found to be discontinuous.

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