The phase curve survey of the irregular saturnian satellites: A possible method of physical classification
During its 2005 January opposition, the saturnian system could be viewed at an unusually low phase angle. We surveyed a subset of Saturn's irregular satellites to obtain their true opposition magnitudes, or nearly so, down to phase angle values of 0.01°. Combining our data taken at the Palomar 200-inch and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory's 4-m Blanco telescope with those in the literature, we present the first phase curves for nearly half the irregular satellites originally reported by Gladman et al. [2001. Nature 412, 163-166], including Paaliaq (SXX), Siarnaq (SXXIX), Tarvos (SXXI), Ijiraq (SXXII), Albiorix (SXVI), and additionally Phoebe's narrowest angle brightness measured to date. We find centaur-like steepness in the phase curves or opposition surges in most cases with the notable exception of three, Albiorix and Tarvos, which are suspected to be of similar origin based on dynamical arguments, and Siarnaq.