Observations with the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) during Cassini's flyby of Jupiter
The Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) is an imaging spectrometer covering the wavelength range 0.3-5.2 μm in 352 spectral channels, with a nominal instantaneous field of view of 0.5 mrad. The Cassini flyby of Jupiter represented a unique opportunity to accomplish two important goals: scientific observations of the jovian system and functional tests of the VIMS instrument under conditions similar to those expected to obtain during Cassini's 4-year tour of the saturnian system. Results acquired over a complete range of visual to near-infrared wavelengths from 0.3 to 5.2 μm are presented. First detections include methane fluorescence on Jupiter, a surprisingly high opposition surge on Europa, the first visual-near-IR spectra of Himalia and Jupiter's optically-thin ring system, and the first near-infrared observations of the rings over an extensive range of phase angles (0-120°). Similarities in the center-to-limb profiles of H +3 and CH 4 emissions indicate that the H +3 ionospheric density is solar-controlled outside of the auroral regions. The existence of jovian NH 3 absorption at 0.93 μm is confirmed. Himalia has a slightly reddish spectrum, an apparent absorption near 3 μm, and a geometric albedo of 0.06±0.01 at 2.2 μm (assuming an 85-km radius). If the 3-μm feature in Himalia's spectrum is eventually confirmed, it would be suggestive of the presence of water in some form, either free, bound, or incorporated in layer-lattice silicates. Finally, a mean ring-particle radius of 10 μm is found to be consistent with Mie-scattering models fit to VIMS near-infrared observations acquired over 0-120° phase angle.