Microwave radiometry over Titan's seas and lakes

Abstract : In its passive, or radiometry, mode of operation, the Cassini Radar measures the microwave thermal emission from the surface at a wavelength of 2.2 cm. In doing so, it provides unique insight into surface properties of Saturn's largest moon Titan such as physical temperature, overall composition and structure (roughness, heterogeneity...). To date, almost the whole surface of Titan has been mapped by the Cassini Radiometer , whose calibration has been recently refined resulting in an unprecedented accuracy of about 1%. The measured brightness temperatures have also been referenced to the same epoch (i.e. 2005 based on CIRS observations of seasonal surface temperature variations) and to normal incidence. This allows the use of measurements performed at different epochs and with different observational geometries to compare the emissivities of different geological units on Titan. In particular, comparison of radiometry data acquired over Titan's seas and lakes at different places and times should provide clues to their composition and potential seasonal variations. In this paper, we will mainly focus on the radiometry data collected over the northern seas Ligeia Mare and Kraken Mare and the southern lake Ontario Lacus. These three features have been observed several times over the course of the Cassini mission, both in SAR-radiometry and altimetry-radiometry modes of operation. In all cases, assuming no evaporative cooling, radiometry data point to a dielectric constant of about 1.70×0.25, consistent with liquid hydrocarbons. Comparison of radiometry at sea with nearby onshore measurements may allow us to detect evaporative cooling. This will be investigated and further discussed.
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Alice Le Gall, M. A. Janssen, P. Encrenaz, J.I. Lunine, R. D. Lorenz, et al.. Microwave radiometry over Titan's seas and lakes. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013, Dec 2013, San Francisco, United States. pp.P53D-1891. ⟨hal-01070901⟩

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