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Spitzer Space Telescope Mid-IR Light Curves of Neptune

Stauffer, John and Marley, Mark S. and Gizis, John E. and Rebull, Luisa and Carey, Sean J. and Krick, Jessica E. and Ingalls, James G. and Lowrance, Patrick and Glaccum, William and Kirkpatrick, J. Davy and Simon, Amy A. and Wong, Michael H. (2016) Spitzer Space Telescope Mid-IR Light Curves of Neptune. Astronomical Journal, 152 (5). Art. No. 142. ISSN 0004-6256.

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We have used the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2016 February to obtain high cadence, high signal-to-noise, 17 hr duration light curves of Neptune at 3.6 and 4.5 μm. The light curve duration was chosen to correspond to the rotation period of Neptune. Both light curves are slowly varying with time, with full amplitudes of 1.1 mag at 3.6 μm and 0.6 mag at 4.5 μm. We have also extracted sparsely sampled 18 hr light curves of Neptune at W1 (3.4 μm) and W2 (4.6 μm) from the Wide-feld Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)/NEOWISE archive at six epochs in 2010–2015. These light curves all show similar shapes and amplitudes compared to the Spitzer light curves but with considerable variation from epoch to epoch. These amplitudes are much larger than those observed with Kepler/K2 in the visible (amplitude ~0.02 mag) or at 845 nm with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 2015 and at 763 nm in 2016 (amplitude ~0.2 mag). We interpret the Spitzer and WISE light curves as arising entirely from reflected solar photons, from higher levels in Neptune's atmosphere than for K2. Methane gas is the dominant opacity source in Neptune's atmosphere, and methane absorption bands are present in the HST 763 and 845 nm, WISE W1, and Spitzer 3.6 μm filters.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Stauffer, John0000-0003-3595-7382
Marley, Mark S.0000-0002-5251-2943
Gizis, John E.0000-0002-8916-1972
Rebull, Luisa0000-0001-6381-515X
Carey, Sean J.0000-0002-0221-6871
Ingalls, James G.0000-0003-4714-1364
Lowrance, Patrick0000-0001-8014-0270
Kirkpatrick, J. Davy0000-0003-4269-260X
Simon, Amy A.0000-0003-4641-6186
Wong, Michael H.0000-0003-2804-5086
Additional Information:© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 July 13; revised 2016 August 12; accepted 2016 August 15; published 2016 October 27. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. This publication makes use of data products from WISE, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and JPL/Caltech, funded by the NASA. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by JPL/Caltech, under contract with NASA. This publication makes use of data products from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, under programs GO13937 and GO14492, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555, with special thanks to the GO14492 science team (M.H. Wong, A.A. Simon, I. de Pater, J.W. Tollefson, K. de Kleer, H.B. Hammel, S. Cook, R. Hueso, A. Sánchez-Lavega, M. Delcroix, L. Sromovsky, G. Orton, and C. Baranec). This research was carried out in part at JPL/Caltech under a contract with NASA and with the support of the NASA Origins of Solar Systems program via grant 11-OSS11-0074. Facilities: Spitzer - Spitzer Space Telescope satellite, Kepler - , HST. - Hubble Space Telescope satellite
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:planets and satellites: individual (Neptune)
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161027-140034416
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Official Citation:John Stauffer et al 2016 AJ 152 142
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71556
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Oct 2016 22:12
Last Modified:14 Nov 2019 23:44

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