DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 38. Titan Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Friday, November 30, 2001, 9:00-10:30am, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[38.04] Application of Microwave Analog Measurements to the Modeling of Titanís Aerosols

J. E. Thomas-Osip (MIT), B.Ň.S. Gustafson, L. Kolokolova, Y.-l. Xu (U. Florida)

A combination of laboratory experiments, theoretical modeling, and spacecraft in situ observations is employed to characterize the aerosols in the atmosphere of Titan. The scattering properties of model aerosols were measured using the Microwave Analog Light Scattering Facility at the University of Florida and complemented with theoretical modeling of radiative transfer in Titanís atmosphere. This study compares these modeling results with photopolarimetric observations made over a range of phase angles by the Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 spacecraft.

Important results of this work include a survey of the scattering properties of different particle morphologies and compositions necessary to accurately interpret these observations without introducing non-physical assumptions about the particles or requiring additional free parameters to the radiative transfer models. Previous studies use calculation methods which, due to computing memory and processing time requirements, a priori exclude many particle shapes and sizes that the microwave analog laboratory is ideal for exploring. The goal of the present work, to directly constrain aerosol physical characteristics, is addressed by studying in a consistent manner how a variety of aerosol characteristics affect the polarization and intensity reflected by Titanís atmosphere.

Model results for many particle morphologies do not match the in situ spacecraft observations. The most plausible physical particle models suggest that a combination of Rayleigh-like single particles and aggregates that are larger than those previously suggested and investigated (Rannou et al. 1997, JGR, 102, 10997; West & Smith 1991, Icarus, 90, 330) provide the best fit to the existing data. Additional laboratory experiments and more refined modeling awaits the results of a new rich observational dataset following the Cassini/Huygens encounter with Titan in 2004.

This work was partially funded by the NASA GSRP.


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