The temperature-dependent spectra of α and β nitrogen ice with application to Triton

W.M. Grundy, B. Schmitt, and E. Quirico

Published in 1993: Icarus 105, 254-258.


We present measurements of the temperature dependence of the near-infrared spectra of α and β nitrogen ice, measured in transmission in 1 cm thick samples. Our 0.9 cm-1 resolution spectra of β ice reveal that the 4650 cm-1 (2.15 micron) band is a complex, temperature-dependent absorption, composed of at least two components. For lower temperature α ice, our spectra show a complex, temperature-dependent pattern involving several weak features in addition to the strong, narrow band we attribute to a double phonon transition. We apply our results in modeling telescopic spectra of Triton and conclude that the spectral data are consistent with a surface composed predominantly of β nitrogen ice at temperatures between 35.6 and 41 K, in the form of grains of order 1 cm or larger in size or in the form of a surface glaze with a depth of at least 6 cm.

Nitrogen ice absorption spectra

Nitrogen ice absorption coefficient data products: