DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 20. Planetary Rings II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[20.02] Keck Adaptive Optics Observations of Neptune's Ring and Satellite Keck Adaptive Optics Observations of Neptune's Ring and Satellite System

I. de Pater (UC Berkeley), S. Gibbard (IGPP/LLNL), S. Martin, F. Marchis (UC Berkeley), H.G. Roe (Caltech), B. Macintosh (IGPP/LLNL)

We observed Neptune, its satellites and ring system on UT 27 and 28 July 2002, with NIRC2 on the 10-m Keck II telescope at 2.2 micron. The total field of view was 10". Each image was integrated for 1 minute; on the first day we had a total of 18 frames, and 33 images on the second day, each spread out over a time interval of 1-2 hours. The complete Adams and Le Verrier rings are visible on each day, after combining all images. In the regions away from the ring arcs, we find that the Le Verrier ring is brighter (up to 20-40%) than the Adams ring. The ring arcs are readily apparent in combinations of the data that take into account Keplerian motion. The ring arc positions are in close agreement with Nicholson et al's (1995) result, as in HST/NICMOS images (Dumas et al. 2002). The Egalite ring has broadened even more since observed with HST/NICMOS in 1998, and is clearly the brightest ring arc. Liberte has decreased in intensity since Voyager and NICMOS. Courage was extremely faint in our images.

The satellites Proteus, Larissa, Galatea and Despina are easily seen on individual frames. Thalassa is detected after properly shifting/rotating and adding several frames. This is the first time since the Voyager flybys that Thalassa is detected. Preliminary astrometric measurements suggest the satellites Larissa and Galathea, relative to Proteus, to be off from their nominal (JPL Horizons) positions by 0.3", and Despina by 0.1". Recent results indicate that Proteus is offset by ~0.1" compared to Triton (Martins et al. 2003). Preliminary I/F values are 0.06 for Proteus, 0.045 for Larissa and Galatea, and 0.03 for Despina and Thalassa.

These observations were supported by the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Adaptive Optics, managed by the University of California at Santa Cruz under cooperative agreement No. AST-9876783

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.