- Press Release
- November 1, 2021
An Intense Thermospheric Jet on Titan
Winds in Titan’s lower and middle atmosphere have been determined by a variety of techniques.
These techniques include direct measurements from the Huygens Probe over 0-150 km, Doppler shifts of molecular spectral lines in the optical, thermal infrared and mm ranges, probing altogether the ~100-450 km altitude range, and inferences from thermal field over 10 mbar – 10 -3 mbar (i.e. ~100-500 km) and from central flashes in stellar occultation curves. These measurements predominantly indicated strong prograde winds, reaching maximum speeds of ~150-200 m/s in the upper stratosphere, with important latitudinal and seasonal variations.
However, these observations provided incomplete atmospheric sounding; in particular, the wind regime in Titan’s upper mesosphere and thermosphere (500- 1200 km) has remained unconstrained so far. Here we report direct wind measurements based on Doppler shifts of six molecular species observed with ALMA. We show that unlike expectations, strong prograde winds extend up to the thermosphere, with the circulation progressively turning into an equatorial jet regime as altitude increases, reaching ~340 m/s at 1000 km. We suggest that these winds may represent the dynamical response of forcing by waves launched at upper stratospheric/mesospheric levels and/or magnetospheric-ionospheric interaction. We also demonstrate that the HNC distribution is restricted to Titan’s thermosphere above ~870 km altitude.
E. Lellouch, M.A. Gurwell, R. Moreno, S. Vinatier, D.F. Strobel, A. Moullet, B. Butler, L. Lara, T. Hidayat, E. Villard
(Submitted on 28 Mar 2019)
Comments: Accepted for publication
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1903.12116 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1903.12116v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
From: Emmanuel Lellouch
[v1] Thu, 28 Mar 2019 17:01:33 UTC (3,201 KB)