Hapke modeling of Rhea surface properties through Cassini-VIMS spectra

M. Ciarniello, F. Capaccioni, G. Filacchione, R. N. Clark, D. P. Cruikshank, P. Cerroni, A. Coradini, R. H. Brown, B. J. Buratti, F. Tosi, K. Stephan

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61 Scopus citations


The surface properties of the icy bodies in the saturnian system have been investigated by means of the Cassini-VIMS (Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer) hyperspectral imager which operates in the 0.35-5.1. μm wavelength range. In particular, we have analyzed 111 full disk hyperspectral images of Rhea ranging in solar phase between 0.08° and 109.8°. These data have been previously analyzed by Filacchione et al. (Filacchione, G. et al. [2007]. Icarus 186, 259-290; Filacchione, G. et al. [2010]. Icarus 206, 507-523) to study, adopting various "spectral indicators" (such as spectral slopes, band depth, and continuum level), the relations among various saturnian satellites. As a further step we proceed in this paper to a quantitative evaluation of the physical parameters determining the spectrophotometric properties of Rhea's surface. To do this we have applied Hapke (Hapke, B. [1993]. Theory of Reflectance and Emittance Spectroscopy, Topics in Remote Sensing: 3 Springer, Berlin) IMSA model (Isotropic Multiple Scattering Approximation) which allow us to model the phase function at VIS-IR (visible-infrared) wavelengths as well as the spectra taking into account various types of mixtures of surface materials. Thanks to this method we have been able to constrain the size of water ice particles covering the surface, the amount of organic contaminants, the large scale surface roughness and the opposition effect surge. From our analysis it appears that wavelength dependent parameters, e.g. opposition surge width (h) and single-particle phase function parameters (b,. v), are strongly correlated to the estimated single-scattering albedo of particles. For Rhea the best fit solution is obtained by assuming: (1) an intraparticle mixture of crystalline water ice and a small amount (0.4%) of Triton tholin; (2) a monodisperse grain size distribution having a particle diameter am= 38. μm; and (3) a surface roughness parameter value of 33°. The study of phase function shows that both shadow hiding and coherent backscattering contribute to the opposition surge. This study represents the first attempt, in the case of Rhea, to join the spectral and the photometric analysis. The surface model we derived gives a good quantitative description of both spectrum and phase curve of the satellite. The same approach and model, with appropriate modifications, shall be applied to VIMS data of the other icy satellites of Saturn, in order to reveal similarities and differences in the surface characteristics to understand how these bodies interact with their environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Ices
  • Radiative transfer
  • Satellites, Surfaces
  • Saturn, Satellites
  • Spectrophotometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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