Neptune Cloud Structure at Visible Wavelengths

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Science  09 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4909, pp. 1165-1167
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4909.1165


Digital images of Neptune showing cloud structure at visible wavelengths were obtained in July 1988. A discrete bright feature was detected both at 6190 Å (a weak methane absorption band in the visible) and at 8900 Å (a stronger methane band in the near infrared). The images also revealed that Neptune's southern pole was bright relative to planetary mid-latitudes at 6190 Å but not 8900 Å. The implications of these findings for atmospheric rotation and structure are discussed. The detection of discrete features at visible wavelengths is of special importance to the upcoming Voyager encounter with Neptune: the wide-angle camera has a 6190 Å filter similar to that used for these observations.

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