The brightness, albedo, and temporal variability of Neptune

G. W. Lockwood, D. T. Thompson, B. L. Lutz, E. S. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Since 1972, the brightness of Neptune at 4720 and 5510 Å has slowly varied with an amplitude of 4%, apparently anticorrelated with cyc̄lic solar activity. In addition, there is a secular trend towards redder color. The night-to-night variation of brightness tends to be greater in seasons when the planet is relatively bright. From annual spectrophotometric observations at 8 Å resolution, 3295-8880 Å, we have computed the geometric albedo spectrum for 1982, when the planet was relatively faint, and for 1987, when it was relatively bright. The two spectra do not differ substantially from each other, but yield a significantly higher albedo in the ultraviolet compared with the values published by Neff et al. based on 1981 observations and a different solar irradiance spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 1991


  • Photometry
  • Planets: neptune
  • Planets: spectra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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