NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0279

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0279


PI: Padma Yanamandra-Fisher, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, padma@durga.jpl.nasa.gov
Address: Mail Stop 169 - 237, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Glenn Orton, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
CoI: Brendan Fisher, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
CoI: Cecile Ferrari, Saclay CEA, France

Title: Thermal Asymmetries in Saturn's Unshadowed Ring: Target of Opportunity in Support of NASA/CASSINI Mission.

Abstract: We wish to utilize the target of opportunity to map Saturn's outer classical ring A, outside of the planetary shadow, with the mid-infrared imager and spectrometer (Michelle) at Gemini-North in January 2004, at Saturn's opposition. Saturn's rings, based on available thermal data from ground, Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft indicate that a temperature asymmetry exists between the east/west ansae, resulting from the ring particles' entry into and exit from Saturn's shadow. Our goal is to detect thermal azimuthal inhomogeneities on spatial scales of 6000 km with Gemini-N/Michelle, not achievable from other ground based telescopes. NASA/CASSINI will not observe the unshadowed A ring in its orbital tour. We will use Saturn as the primary calibrator and map its tropospheric and stratospheric temperature fields, the distribution of ammonia ice condensate cloud opacity and the horizontal distribution of PH3 gas. The observing request is to characterize Saturn as part of coordinated observation campaign with HST and IRTF, prior to the arrival of CASSINI, to maximize the synoptic nature of observations at several wavelengths, at Saturn opposition.


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