The albedos of Pluto and Charon: Wavelength dependence

Robert L. Marcialis, Larry A. Lebofsky, Michael A. Disanti, Uwe Fink, Edward F. Tedesco, John Africano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The 1987 March 03 occultation of Charon by Pluto was monitored simultaneously with three telescopes in the vicinity of Tucson, Arizona. Each site covered a distinct wavelength interval, with the total range spanning 0.44-2.4 μm. Observing the same event ensures an identical Sun-Pluto-Earth geometry for all three sites, and minimizes the assumptions which must be made to combine results. We have used this spectrophotometry to derive the individual geometric albedos of Pluto and Charon over a factor of ≥5 in wavelength. Combining our results with those of Binzel [Science, 241, 1070 (1988)], we obtain improved (B - V) color estimates (on the "Johnson Pluto" system) for the components of the system at rotational phase 0.75: (Pluto + Charon) = 0.843 ± 0.006; Pluto alone = 0.866 ± 0.007; and Charon alone = 0.702 ± 0.010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1394
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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