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The discovery of the Neptune ring system

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

Neptune was an enigma. Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus all had rings. If there was justice in the universe, Neptune should also have rings. But if it didn’t, some explanation would have to be developed to account for Neptune’s inadequacy. In either case, astronomers first had to determine if there were rings. Unfortunately, the search for these rings was made more difficult by the planet’s extreme distance from the Sun. The only viable approach for discovering rings was by stellar ring occultation observations. This technique requires the planet to cross in front of a stable star. If there are rings, the star will appear to flicker prior to the occultation and then again after the star emerges from behind the planet’s disk. A stable star of known output is essential if the data are to be interpreted correctly. One could easily mistake brightness variations of a star for ring occultation events.

Keywords

Ring Satellite Deep Space Network Occultation Event Narrow Angle Camera Stellar Occultation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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5.5 Notes and References

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    http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile—Uranus.Google Scholar
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5.6 Bibliography

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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2007

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