36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 20 Titan
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[20.11] Titan's haze structure in 1999 and 2004 from spatially-resolved narrowband imaging between 700 and 1000 nm.

C.M. Anderson, N.J. Chanover, D.G. Voelz, M.E. Deramo (New Mexico State University), C.P. McKay (NASA Ames Research Center), D.M. Kuehn (Pittsburg State University)

We use narrowband images of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, to explore the haze vertical structure in Titan's lower atmosphere. The images were obtained in early January 2004 with the Advanced Electro-Optic System (AEOS) 3.67 m adaptive optics telescope at the Air Force Maui Space Surveillance System. Titan was imaged between 700 and 850 nm with the guest instrument NAIC, the New Mexico State University Acousto-Optic Imaging Camera. These telescopic data combined with our existing Titan data surrounding the 940 nm methane window, which are spectral regions where Titan's atmosphere is relatively transparent, yield an enhanced vertical resolution of the haze in Titan's lower atmosphere. The collection of images at wavelengths between 700 and 1000 nm are sensitive to different altitudes in Titan's atmosphere, providing a method to explore the distribution of the haze in the lower atmosphere. We explore the haze distribution in Titan's atmosphere to gain a better understanding of the dynamical processes occurring in the atmosphere. Understanding the exact distribution of the lower atmospheric haze provides insight into possible mechanisms that reduce or remove the tropospheric haze. We use Titan's center-to-limb profile to determine the haze structure in the lower atmosphere because the brightness variations across the disk are affected by the surface albedo, the amount of haze, and the degree of methane absorption. We use radiative transfer models to interpret the observed limb darkening across Titan's disk and will present results regarding the vertical haze profile in Titan's lower atmosphere.

The US Air Force provided the telescope time, on-site support and 80% of the research funds for this AFOSR and NSF jointly sponsored research under grant number NSF AST-0335635. This work has also been supported by the Sigma Xi Committee On Grants In Aid of Research and the Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.