AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 16 Asteroids, Planets and Planetary Satellites
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[16.07] Imaging of Uranus' Atmosphere in 2003 with Keck and AEOS

H. B. Hammel (Space Science Institute), K. A. Rages (SETI/Ames), G. W. Lockwood (Lowell), I. de Pater (UCB), S. Gibbard (LLNL)

Adaptive optics (AO) imaging of Uranus was obtained with NIRC2 on the Keck II 10-meter telescope on 3-6 October 2003 through J, H, and K' filters, and the Air Force AEOS system on Maui on 2-3 October 2003 through Bessel I and other narrower filters. Many discrete features were detected in the atmosphere of Uranus. Detection of low-contrast features was possible because the Keck AO system has improved dramatically over the past six months. We will report wind speeds for all trackable features, and compare them with results from previous years. Preliminary inspection of the data shows features at latitudes where no features have been previously seen; tracking these features may fill significant gaps in the zonal wind profile. We will also discuss the wavelength dependence of discrete features, and the consequent implications for feature altitudes. The south polar collar at ~45 S latitude is clearly visible at I, J, and H, and is still undetected at K' (as in previous years). There is no sign yet of a similar polar collar in the northern hemisphere at these wavelengths. The observations were supported in part from NASA grant NAG5-10451, from Air Force Award F49620-03-1-0125, and by the NSF Center for Adaptive Optics, managed by UCSC under cooperative agreement No. AST-9876783. The Keck Observatory is operated as a scientific partnership by Caltech, UC, and NASA, and was made possible by the financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.