Aerosols Optical Properties in Titan's Detached Haze Layer Before the Equinox

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 4, 2017
Filed under
Aerosols Optical Properties in Titan's Detached Haze Layer Before the Equinox

UV observations with Cassini ISS Narrow Angle Camera of Titan’s detached haze is an excellent tool to probe its aerosols content without being affected by the gas or the multiple scattering. Unfortunately, its low extent in altitude requires a high resolution calibration and limits the number of images available in the Cassini dataset.

However, we show that it is possible to extract on each profile the local maximum of intensity of this layer and confirm its stability at 500±8 km during the 2005-2007 period for all latitudes lower than 45∘N. Using the fractal aggregate scattering model of Tomasko et al. (2008) and a single scattering radiative transfer model, it is possible to derive the optical properties required to explain the observations made at different phase angles. Our results indicates that the aerosols have at least ten monomers of 60 nm radius, while the typical tangential column number density is about 2⋅1010 agg.m−2.

Moreover, we demonstrate that these properties are constant within the error bars in the southern hemisphere of Titan over the observed time period. In the northern hemisphere, the size of the aerosols tend to decrease relatively to the southern hemisphere and are associated with a higher tangential opacity. However, the lower number of observations available in this region due to the orbital constraints is a limiting factor in the accuracy of these results. Assuming a fixed homogeneous content we notice that the tangential opacity can fluctuate up to a factor 3 among the observations at the equator. These variations could be linked with short scale temporal and/or longitudinal events changing the local density of the layer.

Benoît Seignovert, Pascal Rannou, Panayotis Lavvas, Thibaud Cours, Robert A. West
(Submitted on 4 Apr 2017)

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.03.026
Cite as: arXiv:1704.00842 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1704.00842v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Benoît Seignovert
[v1] Tue, 4 Apr 2017 00:47:44 GMT (3187kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻