Volume 585, January 2016
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||17 December 2015|
Dayside temperatures in the Venus upper atmosphere from Venus Express/VIRTIS nadir measurements at 4.3 μm⋆
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science-Japan Aerospace Exploration
Yoshinodai, 252-5210 Chuo-ku,
2 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
3 Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, CNRS, 75006 Paris, France
4 LATMOS – UVSQ/CNRS/IPSL, 11 Bd d’Alembert, 78280 Guyancourt, France
5 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Univ. Paris Diderot, 92195 Meudon, France
Received: 14 August 2015
Accepted: 17 October 2015
In this work, we analysed nadir observations of atmospheric infrared emissions carried out by VIRTIS, a high-resolution spectrometer on board the European spacecraft Venus Express. We focused on the ro-vibrational band of CO2 at 4.3 μm on the dayside, whose fluorescence originates in the Venus upper mesosphere and above. This is the first time that a systematic sounding of these non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) emissions has been carried out in Venus using this geometry. As many as 143,218 spectra have been analysed on the dayside during the period 14/05/2006 to 14/09/2009. We designed an inversion method to obtain the atmospheric temperature from these non-thermal observations, including a NLTE line-by-line forward model and a pre-computed set of spectra for a set of thermal structures and illumination conditions. Our measurements sound a broad region of the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere of Venus ranging from 10-2–10-5 mb (which in the Venus International Reference Atmosphere, VIRA, is approximately 100–150 km during the daytime) and show a maximum around 195 ± 10 K in the subsolar region, decreasing with latitude and local time towards the terminator. This is in qualitative agreement with predictions by a Venus Thermospheric General Circulation Model (VTGCM) after a proper averaging of altitudes for meaningful comparisons, although our temperatures are colder than the model by about 25 K throughout. We estimate a thermal gradient of about 35 K between the subsolar and antisolar points when comparing our data with nightside temperatures measured at similar altitudes by SPICAV, another instrument on Venus Express (VEx). Our data show a stable temperature structure through five years of measurements, but we also found episodes of strong heating/cooling to occur in the subsolar region of less than two days.
Key words: molecular processes / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / radiative transfer / instrumentation: spectrographs / methods: data analysis / planets and satellites: atmospheres
The table with numerical data and averaged temperatures displayed in Fig. 7A provided as a CSV data file is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/585/A53
© ESO, 2015
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