JWST Spectrophotometry of the Small Satellites of Uranus and Neptune

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
April 11, 2024
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JWST Spectrophotometry of the Small Satellites of Uranus and Neptune
JWST NIRCam albedos of Proteus and Puck compared to the spectra of 2004 EW95 (Plutino) and 2007 VL305 (Neptune Trojan) from JWST Programs 2418 and 2550 respectively. Also shown are Voyager-derived visual geometric albedos, with the Puck albedo selected to be at the same phase angle as the JWST observations (see Figure 6 of Karkoschka (2001) and Table 2 of Karkoschka (2003)). The spectrophotometry for Proteus and Puck closely matches the shape and albedo for the selected objects, both of which have less red/neutral spectral slopes, and perihelia also near 30AU. Higher resolution spectra for Puck and Proteus are needed to reveal surface composition. — astro-ph.EP

We use 1.4-4.6 micron multi-band photometry of the small inner Uranian and Neptunian satellites obtained with the James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared imager NIRCam to characterize their surface compositions.

We find that the satellites of the ice giants have, to first-order, similar compositions to one another, with a 3.0 micron absorption feature possibly associated with an O-H stretch, indicative of water ice or hydrated minerals.

Additionally, the spectrophotometry for the small ice giant satellites matches spectra of some Neptune Trojans and excited Kuiper belt objects, suggesting shared properties. Future spectroscopy of these small satellites is necessary to identify and better constrain their specific surface compositions.

Matthew Belyakov, M. Ryleigh Davis, Zachariah Milby, Ian Wong, Michael E. Brown

Comments: 14 pages, 5 figures, Accepted to the Planetary Science Journal
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2404.06660 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2404.06660v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Matthew Belyakov
[v1] Wed, 10 Apr 2024 00:02:41 UTC (9,984 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻