A New Spectral Feature on the Trailing Hemisphere of Europa at 3.78 microns

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Samantha K. Trumbo (1), Michael E. Brown (1), Patrick D. Fischer (1), Kevin P. Hand (2) ((1) Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, (2) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)
(Submitted on 11 Jun 2017)

We present hemispherically resolved spectra of the surface of Europa from ~3.1--4.13 microns, which we obtained using the near infrared spectrometer NIRSPEC on the Keck II telescope. These include the first high-quality L-band spectra of the surface to extend beyond 4 microns. In our data we identify a previously unseen spectral feature at 3.78 microns on the trailing hemisphere. The longitudinal distribution of the feature is consistent with that of a radiolytic product created by electron or Iogenic ion bombardment. This feature is coincident with an absorption feature of SO2 frost seen in both laboratory spectra and spectra of Io. However, the corresponding, typically stronger 4.07 micron feature of SO2 frost is absent from our data. This result is contrary to the suggested detection of SO2 at 4.05 microns in Galileo NIMS data of the trailing hemisphere, which was severely affected by radiation noise. We use simple spectral modeling to argue that the 3.78 micron feature is not easily explained by the presence of SO2 frost on the surface. We explore alternative explanations and discuss other potential candidate species.

Comments:    6 pages, 6 figures, Published in AJ
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference:    Astronomical Journal, Volume 153, 2017, 250
DOI:    10.3847/1538-3881/aa6d80
Cite as:    arXiv:1706.03295 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1706.03295v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Samantha Trumbo 
[v1] Sun, 11 Jun 2017 02:03:20 GMT (511kb,D)

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