AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 63. Solar System
Display, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[63.07] 2-micron Adaptive Optics Images of Titan from the W.M. Keck Telescope

S.G. Gibbard, B.A. Macintosh, C.E. Max (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), I. de Pater, H.G. Roe, F. Marchis (University of California, Berkeley)

Saturn's largest moon Titan is the only satellite in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere, which consists mainly of nitrogen and a few percent methane. Photolysis of methane creates a hydrocarbon haze in Titan's atmosphere that is opaque to visible light. However, in the infrared there are `windows' between methane absorption bands in which the surface of Titan can be imaged. We have observed Titan over the period of 1999-2001 using the adaptive optics system on the 10-meter W.M. Keck Telescope. Using adaptive optics allows us to observe Titan with a resolution of 0.04 arcseconds, or approximately 20 resolution elements across the satellite's disk. We will report on adaptive optics images of Titan taken in 1999-2001 at K band (1.95-2.29 microns). The images are enhanced by application of the MISTRAL iterative image deconvolution routine. Using this data combined with atmospheric modeling, we are able to determine Titan's surface albedo at this wavelength and properties of its hydrocarbon haze layer.

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.

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