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Published June 1, 2007 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

Photolytically Generated Aerosols in the Mesosphere and Thermosphere of Titan


Analysis of the Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) stellar and solar occultations at Titan to date include 12 species: N_2 (nitrogen), CH_4 (methane), C_2H_2 (acetylene), C_2H_4 (ethylene), C_2H_6 (ethane), C_4H_2 (diacetylene), C_6H_6 (benzene), C_6N_2 (dicyanodiacetylene), C_2N_2 (cyanogen), HCN (hydrogen cyanide), HC_3N (cyanoacetylene), and aerosols distinguished by a structureless continuum extinction (absorption plus scattering) of photons in the EUV. The introduction of aerosol particles, retaining the same refractive index properties as tholin with radius ~125 Å and using Mie theory, provides a satisfactory fit to the spectra. The derived vertical profile of aerosol density shows distinct structure, implying a reactive generation process reaching altitudes more than 1000 km above the surface. A photochemical model presented here provides a reference basis for examining the chemical and physical processes leading to the distinctive atmospheric opacity at Titan. We find that dicyanodiacetylene is condensable at ~650 km, where the atmospheric temperature minimum is located. This species is the simplest molecule identified to be condensable. Observations are needed to confirm the existence and production rates of dicyanodiacetylene.

Additional Information

© 2007 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2006 November 20; accepted 2007 April 11; published 2007 May 8. This research was supported by NASA grant NNG06GF33G and Cassini grant JPL.1256000 to the California Institute of Technology. D. E. S. acknowledges support from NASA grant NNG06GH76G and from Cassini UVIS Program contract 1531660 to Space Environment Technologies.

Attached Files

Published - LIAapjl07a.pdf

Accepted Version - 0705.0145.pdf


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