Uranus: microwave images

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Science  10 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4662, pp. 619-621
DOI: 10.1126/science.11541997


Observations of Uranus at wavelengths of 2 and 6 centimeters with the Very Large Array were made in 1980 and 1981. The resulting maps of brightness temperature show a subsolar symmetry at 2 centimeters but a near-polar symmetry at 6 centimeters. The 6-centimeter maps show an increase in temperature from equator to pole with some evidence for a warm "ring" surrounding the north pole. The disk-average temperatures (147 +/- 5 K and 230 +/- 6 K at 2 and 6 centimeters, respectively) are distinctly lower than recently reported values; these results suggest that the secular increase in temperature reported during the last 15 years has been reversed. The variations in brightness temperature probably reflect variations in ammonia abundance in the planet's atmosphere, but the mechanism driving these variations is still unclear.

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