Presence of PAH or HAC below 900 km in the Titan's stratosphere?

Abstract : In 2006, during Cassini's 10th flyby of Titan (T10), Bellucci et al. (2009) observed a solar occultation by Titan's atmosphere through the solar port of the Cassini/VIMS instrument. These authors noticed the existence of an unexplained additional absorption superimposed to the CH4 3.3 microns band. Because they were unable to model this absorption with gases, they attributed this intriguing feature to the signature of solid state organic components. Kim et al. (2011) revisited the data collected by Bellucci et al. (2009) and they considered the possible contribution of aerosols formed by hydrocarbon ices. They specifically took into account C2H6, CH4, CH3CN, C5H12 and C6H12 ices. More recently, Maltagliati et al. (2015) analyzed a set of four VIMS solar occultations, corresponding to flybys performed between January 2006 and September 2011 at different latitudes. They confirmed the presence of the 3.3 µm absorption in all occultations and underlined the possible importance of gaseous ethane, which has a strong plateau of absorption lines in that wavelength range. In this work, we show that neither hydrocarbon ices nor molecular C2H6 cannot satisfactorily explain the observed absorption. Our simulations speak in favor of an absorption due to the presence of PAH molecules or HAC in the stratosphere of Titan. PAH have been already considered by Lopes-Puertas et al. (2013) at altitudes larger than ~900 km and tentatively identified in the stratosphere by Maltagliati et al. (2015); PAH and HAC are good candidates for Titan's aerosols precursors.
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Contributor : Benoît Seignovert <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 8:01:34 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 3:41:23 AM

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Daniel Cordier, Thibaud Cours, Michael Rey, Luca Maltagliati, Benoît, Seignovert, et al.. Presence of PAH or HAC below 900 km in the Titan's stratosphere?. DPS/EPSC, Oct 2016, Pasadena, United States. ⟨hal-01536353⟩

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