Mercury: Mid-infrared (3-13.5 micrometers) observations show heterogeneous composition, presence of intermediate and basic soil types, and pyroxene
MetadataShow full item record
CitationSprague, A. L., Emery, J. P., Donaldson, K. L., Russell, R. W., Lynch, D. K., & Mazuk, A. L. (2002). Mercury: Mid‐infrared (3–13.5 micrometers) observations show heterogeneous composition, presence of intermediate and basic soil types, and pyroxene. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 37(9), 1255-1268.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractThe Aerospace Corporation's Broadband Array Spectrograph System (BASS) mounted on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii was used to obtain spectral measurements of Mercury's thermal emission on March 21, 1998 (45-85 degrees longitude), and on May 12, 1998 (68-108 degrees longitude). The spectra show heterogeneous composition on Mercury's surface between longitudes 45-85 degrees and about 68-108 degrees. These observations include measurements from 3-6 micrometers, a spectral region not previously covered by mid-infrared spectroscopy. Excellent quality data were obtained in the atmospheric windows between 3-4.2 and 4.6-5.5 micrometers. These wavelength regions exhibit high emissivity characteristic of a regolith with strong thermal gradients maintained in a vacuum environment with spectra dominated by grain sizes of about ~30 micrometers. Emission peaks are present at 3.5 and 5 micrometers in the 45-85 degrees longitude data. The 5 micrometer peak has been tentatively attributed to clino-pyroxene. Data were also obtained in the 7.5-13.5 micrometers spectral region. Spectra obtained during both observing periods show well-defined emissivity maxima (EM) in the spectral vicinity (between 7.7-9.2 micrometers) of the Christiansen frequency of silicate soils. The location of the EM for longitudes 45-85 degrees (7.9 micrometers) is consistent with a surface composition of intermediate SiO2 content. The overall spectral shape is similar to that obtained previously at the same location with different instrumentation. In the region 68-108 degrees longitude, three EM are observed at 7.8, 8.2, and 9.2 micrometers, indicating the presence of distinctly different surface composition from the other location. Comparisons of these data to other mid-infrared spectra of Mercury's surface and asteroids, and of the different instrumentation used in observations are included.