Spectral characteristics of the Titanian haze at 1−5 micron from Cassini/VIMS solar occultation data⋆
1 School of Space Research, Kyung Hee University, 446-701 Yongin, Korea
2 LESIA–Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris 06, Université Paris-Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
Accepted: 12 August 2013
We retrieved optical-depth spectra of the Titanian haze in the range 1−5 μm from solar occultation data obtained by the Cassini/Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) at altitudes of 59−502 km. Only limited wavelength intervals within this spectral range have been analyzed before. The haze spectra we retrieved are mostly similar to those of alkane particles (or powders), with three major absorption peaks typical of alkane powders at 2.3, 3.4, and 4.3 μm. This result suggests that at least in the ~60−500 km altitude range, the Titanian haze is mostly composed of alkane particles, possibly with some trace impurities. The absence of the 3.0 and 4.6 μm features excludes the molecules containing NH and CN bonds that are typical of laboratory-made tholins reported in the literature. The alkane-like spectral characteristics of the haze we observed at ~60−500 km differ from previous results obtained at different or overlapping altitudes: a) the presence of aromatic compounds derived from solar-pumped emissions observed at high altitude (600−1250 km) by Cassini/VIMS near 3.3 μm; and b) the detection of HCN and NH3 in the cores of haze particles collected at low altitude (20−130 km) by the Huygens/Aerosol Collector and Pyrolyser (ACP). We suggest that these different characteristics arise from different structural layers formed by coagulation/coalescence during particle sedimentation.
Key words: planets and satellites: individual: Titan / planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: composition / techniques: spectroscopic / radiative transfer / line: identification
Data contained in Figs. 1 and 2 are only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/557/L6
© ESO, 2013