Ground-based photometric observations of Jupiter's inner satellites Thebe, Amalthea, and Metis at small phase angles
We present the results of photometric measurements of the inner jovian satellites Thebe, Amalthea and Metis based on extensive optical observations taken from October 1999 to January 2002. The observations were made in the phase angle range from 8.1° to 0.3°. The Two-Channel Focal Reducer of the Max-Planck Institute for Aeronomy attached to the 2-m RCC telescope at Terskol Observatory (Pik Terskol, Northern Caucasus) was used in coronagraph mode. The observations were performed at a wavelength of 0.887 μm. Mean observational uncertainties corresponding to 1 σ rms errors were 3% for the leading and trailing sides of Amalthea, 7 and 9% for the leading and trailing sides of Thebe and 9% for the leading side of Metis after taking into account the longitude brightness variations. Photometric data calibrated on an absolute scale were used to evaluate the near-opposition behavior of satellite brightness. All three satellites exhibit significant opposition brightening, but the strength of this effect, measured as the ratios of intensities at α1=1.6° and α2=6.7° does not vary significantly among these satellites. In order to measure the opposition surge parameters the empirical law proposed by Karkoschka and Hapke's model were used. The parameters of the satellite opposition effects are presented and discussed. The values of geometric albedos calculated with best-fit Hapke parameters are 0.096, 0.157, and 0.24 for Thebe, Amalthea, and Metis respectively. We found that the average leading/trailing ratios of surface reflectance at the measured phase angles are 1.53±0.05, 1.25±0.04, 1.04±0.08 for Amalthea, Thebe, and Metis.