37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 30 Outer Planets
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[30.07] Acetylene and Ethane Vertical Distribution on Saturn from Cassini/CIRS Observations

T. Fouchet, E. Lellouch, B. Bézard (LESIA/Obs. Paris), C. Howett, P.G.J. Irwin (AOPP/Univ. Oxford), C.A. Nixon, A.A Simon-Miller, F.M. Flasar (GSFC/NASA), CIRS Team

Acetylene and ethane are the two major products of the CH4 photolysis in the stratosphere of Saturn. They are formed in the homopause region, and migrate to deeper levels under the influence of eddy mixing diffusion and possibly vertical advection. Ethane presents a lifetime longer than the mixing timescale. It is therefore a good tracer of transport processes in the stratosphere. Acetylene lifetime is shorter than that of ethane. For this reason it is more sensitive to chemical sources and sinks. We will present ethane and acetylene vertical profiles derived from Cassini/CIRS limb and nadir observations. The stratospheric temperature profile is retrieved from the CH4 \nu4 band, ethane and acetylene are observed in their \nu9 and \nu5 bands respectively. Limb observations yield a higher vertical resolution than nadir observations but are restricted to specific geographical points. The use of both nadir and limb observations will allow us to monitor any spatial changes on the vertical profiles that would provide insight into Saturn's stratospheric dynamics.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.