Icy Bodies of the Outer Solar System: What Does The Spectroscopy Tell Us?


Wednesday, January 06 2010 - 12:00 pm, PST
Dale Cruikshank
Space Science and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames

Spectroscopy, particularly in the near-infrared, continues to be the most effective means for determining the compositions of the surfaces of planetary bodies. Planetary spectroscopy has moved beyond the mere identification of species to the quantitative interpretation of mixtures of several materials and the physical states in which they occur. Dr. Cruikshank will show how spectra of Triton and Pluto show that methane is dissolved in solid nitrogen covering much of their surfaces, and wavelength shifts in carbon dioxide bands on Saturn's satellites show evidence of clathrate trapping of CO2 molecules in H2O ice cages.


Other talks you might like: