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Title: EVOLUTION OF THE FAR-INFRARED CLOUD AT TITAN’S SOUTH POLE

A condensate cloud on Titan identified by its 220 cm{sup −1} far-infrared signature continues to undergo seasonal changes at both the north and south poles. In the north, the cloud, which extends from 55 N to the pole, has been gradually decreasing in emission intensity since the beginning of the Cassini mission with a half-life of 3.8 years. The cloud in the south did not appear until 2012 but its intensity has increased rapidly, doubling every year. The shape of the cloud at the south pole is very different from that in the north. Mapping in 2013 December showed that the condensate emission was confined to a ring with a maximum at 80 S. The ring was centered 4° from Titan's pole. The pattern of emission from stratospheric trace gases like nitriles and complex hydrocarbons (mapped in 2014 January) was also offset by 4°, but had a central peak at the pole and a secondary maximum in a ring at about 70 S with a minimum at 80 S. The shape of the gas emission distribution can be explained by abundances that are high at the atmospheric pole and diminish toward the equator, combined with correspondingly increasing temperatures. We discussmore » possible causes for the condensate ring. The present rapid build up of the condensate cloud at the south pole is likely to transition to a gradual decline from 2015 to 2016.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ; ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  2. SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht (Netherlands)
  3. Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA), Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris-Diderot, 5, place Jules Janssen, F-92195 Meudon Cedex (France)
  4. School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ (United Kingdom)
  5. Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518979
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 804; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CLOUDS; CONDENSATES; EMISSION; FAR INFRARED RADIATION; HALF-LIFE; HYDROCARBONS; MAPPING; NITRILES; PLANETS; SATELLITE ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITES; SOLAR SYSTEM EVOLUTION