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S.C. Martin, H. Roe, I. de Pater (U.C. Berkeley), B. Macintosh, S. Gibbard, C.E. Max, D. Gavel (LLNL/IGPP), M. Brown (Caltech), A. Ghez (U.C.L.A.)
Near-infrared images of Neptune were taken with SCAM, the slit-viewing camera of the AO/NIRSPEC system at the 10-m W.M. Keck II telescope, on 2000 June 8,17,18,22,23 and 29 UT. Observations with broad-band filter Nirspec-5 [1.61 micron], Nirspec-6 [1.93 micron], and K' [2.12 micron], and several narrow-band filters between 1.279 and 1.702 microns are compared to determine the temporal evolution of cloud features over the 20-day period. These images taken with the Keck Adaptive Optics system are spectacular, revealing narrow zonal bands at 3-4 degree latitude spacings within bright regions and near the equator. There are three regions of latitude that contain bright features along zonal bands. The dimmest of these bright regions is located in the Northern hemisphere and extends from 20 deg N to 40 deg N. The remaining two bright regions are located in the Southern hemisphere extending from 20 deg S to 50 deg S, and from 60 deg S to 70 deg S. The region near the South pole (a recently quiet location) contains a bright teardrop-shaped feature which may be related to the Westerly jet observed by Voyager and reported by Sanjay et.al. (Journal of Geophysical Research, vol.6, pp. 18941-18960, 1991) at a similar latitude.
This research was supported in part by the STC Program of the National Science Foundation under Agreement No. AST-9876783, and in part under the auspices of the US Department of Energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Univ. of Calif. under contract No. W-7405-Eng-48. Data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.
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