Models for Temperature and Composition in Uranus from Spitzer, Herschel and Ground-Based Infrared through Millimeter Observations

Abstract : Photometric and spectroscopic observations of Uranus in the thermal infrared were combined to create self-consistent models of its global-mean temperature profile and vertical distribution of gases. These were derived from a suite of observations from Spitzer and Herschel, together with ground-based observations from UKIRT, CSO, Gemini, VLT and Subaru. Observations of the collision-induced absorption and quadrupoles of H2 have constrained the temperature structure for pressures of nearly 2 bars down to 0.1 millibars. We coupled the vertical distribution of CH4 in the stratosphere of Uranus with models for the vertical mixing in such a way to be consistent with the mixing ratios of hydrocarbons. Spitzer and Herschel data constrain the abundances of CH3, CH4, C2H2, C2H6, C3H4, C4H2, H2O and CO2. The Spitzer IRS data, in concert with photochemical models, show that the homopause is at much higher atmospheric pressures than for the other outer planets, with the predominant trace constituents for pressures lower than 30 µbar being H2O and CO2. The ratio of the oxygen-bearing molecules is consistent with exogenic origins in KBOs or comets. At millimeter wavelengths, there is evidence that an additional opacity source is required besides the H2 collision-induced absorption and the NH3 absorption needed to match the microwave spectrum; this can reasonably (but not uniquely) be attributed to H2S. This model is of ‘programmatic’ interest because it serves as a standard calibration source; the cross-comparison of its spectrum with model spectra for Mars and Neptune shows consistency to within 3%. Near equinox, the IRS spectra at different longitudes showed rotationally variable stratospheric emission that is consistent with a temperature anomaly ≤10 K near ~0.1-0.2 mbar. Spatial variability of tropospheric temperatures observed in ground-based observations from 2006 to 2011 is generally consistent with Voyager infrared (IRIS) results.
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Contributor : Marie-Paule Pomies <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 10:14:00 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:23:44 PM



Glenn S., Orton, Leigh N., Fletcher, Helmut, Feuchtgruber, Emmanuel, Lellouch, Raphel, Moreno, et al.. Models for Temperature and Composition in Uranus from Spitzer, Herschel and Ground-Based Infrared through Millimeter Observations. American Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #46, #505.07, 2014 - held in Tucson (USA) 2014-11-09, Nov 2014, Tucson, United States. ⟨hal-01082268⟩



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