Photometric Light Curve for Nereid in 1998: A Prominent Opposition Surge

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We present a well-sampled photometric time series (57 V magnitudes on 52 nights) of Nereid over a 128-day time span in 1998. The light curve shows an amplitude of 0.52 mag (from 19.11 to 19.63 mag) with a single peak (at JD 2451019±2) that is smooth and time symmetric. The date of the peak coincides with opposition (JD 2451018) and the entire 1998 light curve varies roughly linearly with the solar phase angle. This shows that the 1998 light curve is dominated by an extreme example of opposition surge. While a fraction of the photometric data from 1987-1997 agrees with this 1998 phase function, large and significant deviations were seen by all observers on time scales from hours to days to months during the years 1987-1997. Hence, there must be at least two mechanisms capable of making Nereid change in brightness, for which only the opposition surge was operating in 1998. © 2001 Academic Press.

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