Discovery of CO2 ice and Leading-Trailing Spectral Asymmetry on the Uranian Satellite Ariel

Published in 2003: Icarus 162, 223-230.

W.M. Grundy(1,3), L.A. Young(2,3), and E.F. Young(2)

(1) Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff Arizona.

(2) Southwest Research Institute, Boulder Colorado.

(3) Visiting observer at NASA's IRTF, Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.


New 0.8 to 2.4 micron spectral observations of the leading and trailing hemispheres of the Uranian satellite Ariel were obtained at IRTF/ SpeX during 2002 July 16 and 17 UT. The new spectra reveal contrasts between Ariel's leading and trailing hemispheres, with the leading hemisphere presenting deeper H2O ice absorption bands. The observed dichotomy is comparable to leading-trailing spectral asymmetries observed among Jovian and Saturnian icy satellites. More remarkably, the trailing hemisphere spectrum exhibits three narrow CO2 ice absorption bands near 2 micron. This discovery of CO2 ice on one hemisphere of Ariel is its first reported detection in the Uranian system.