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Benzene and Haze Formation in the Polar Atmosphere of Jupiter

Wong, Ah-San and Yung, Yuk L. and Friedson, A. James (2003) Benzene and Haze Formation in the Polar Atmosphere of Jupiter. Geophysical Research Letters, 30 (8). Art. No. 1447. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2002GL016661.

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Jupiter has a large magnetosphere that episodically precipitates large amounts of energy into the polar atmosphere, giving rise to intense auroras [Clarke et al., 1996; Grodent et al., 2000]. An important consequence of this energy influx is the production of a dark haze [Pryor and Hord, 1991], the formation mechanism of which was hitherto poorly known. Recent observations of benzene on Jupiter [Bézard et al., 2001; Flasar, 2002] provide new clues for a chemical and aerosol model for the formation of heavy hydrocarbon aerosols. The chemistry begins with the destruction of methane by energetic particles, followed by neutral and ion reactions, ultimately leading to the formation of benzene and other complex hydrocarbons, including multi-ring compounds which subsequently condense. High temperatures and effective eddy mixing engendered by the auroras enhance the formation of heavy hydrocarbons and aerosols. This mechanism may be relevant in the atmospheres of Saturn and extrasolar giant planets, and is an example of how a planetary magnetosphere may influence the chemical composition and climate forcing of the upper atmosphere.

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Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2003 American Geophysical Union. Received 24 November 2002; revised 17 March 2003; accepted 24 March 2003; published 30 April 2003. We thank V. G. Anicich and K. Bayes for helpful comments of the kinetics, S. K. Atreya for discussion on eddy mixing, T. Majeed and D. Grodent for providing model atmosphere data and ion production rates, M. F. Gerstell for a critical reading of an earlier version of the manuscript, and S. K. Atreya, B. Bézard, W. R. Pryor and H. Waite for valuable comments. This research was supported by NASA grant NAG-5-6263 and the Cassini Project.
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Issue or Number:8
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Official Citation:Wong, A.-S., Y. L. Yung, and A. J. Friedson, Benzene and Haze Formation in the Polar Atmosphere of Jupiter, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(8), 1447, doi:10.1029/2002GL016661, 2003.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48718
Deposited On:20 Aug 2014 17:18
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:34

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