Spatially resolved methane band photometry of Saturn. I. Absolute reflectivity and center-to-limb variations in the 6190-, 7250-, and 8900-Å bands

Robert A. West, Martin G. Tomasko, Bradford A. Smith, Mahendra P. Wijesinghe, Lyn R. Doose, Harold J. Reitsema, Stephen M. Larson

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30 Scopus citations


We present spatially resolved measurements of Saturn's absolute reflectivity in methane bands at 6190, 7250, and 8900 Å and in nearby continuum regions. Images were obtained through narrow-band interference filters with a 500 × 500-pixel charge-coupled device. Band/continuum ratios were measured to high accuracy by referencing to the ring brightness in each image. Several data processing techniques enhanced the quality of the observations. These are the use of the ring symmetry to find center position and orientation, accurate subtraction of ring light, and constrained image deconvolution. Uncertainty in the continuum absolute reflectivity is ±10%. Uncertainties in band/continuum ratios are from one to several percent. The Equatorial Zone was much brighter than any other latitude in the strong 8900 band image. Northern mid-latitudes were brighter than southern mid-latitudes. The latter observation indicates fewer high-altitude aerosols in the south, a possible result of atmospheric dynamics or seasonal sublimation of NH3 crystals. The data are tabulated and presented in a form suitable for quantitative scattering model analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1982


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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