NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0287

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Proposal Information for 2012A-0287


PI: Chadwick Trujillo, Gemini Observatory - North, trujillo@gemini.edu
Address: Gemini Observatory, 670 N. Aohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

CoI: Scott Sheppard, Carnegie Institution of Washington (Terrestrial Magn.)

Title: Water Ice on Outer Satellites of the Giant Planets

Abstract: We propose to use Gemini with a custom made water ice filter to determine the water ice abundances of faint irregular outer satellites of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These satellites are likely products of early capture from heliocentric orbit. Satellite capture probably occurred on the same timescale as the planet's growth and provides a unique window on processes operating in the young solar system. These observations will allow us to compare each planet's retinue of satellites with one another, including the well observed irregular satellites around Jupiter and to other small bodies in the Solar System to determine their possible formation locations. This would be the first search for water ice on the surfaces of Uranus irregular satellites as well as both of the Saturn prograde irregular groups and Saturn retrograde group, excepting Phoebe. To date, no water ice has been detected on the eight brightest outer satellites of Jupiter, but water ice is obvious on the only other two outer irregulars bright enough for efficient spectroscopy, Phoebe (Saturn) and Neried (Neptune). This may be one of the last times our custom water ice detection filters will be available as the NIRI instrument is to be retired after 2012B.


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