DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 41. Titan II
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Thursday, October 15, 1998, 1:00-2:00pm, Madison Ballroom D

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[41.02] Fractal Particles: Titan's Thermal Structure and IR Opacity

C.P. McKay (NASA Ames), P. Rannou (Univ. Paris 6), L. Guez (NASA Ames), E.F. Young (SWRI)

Titan's haze particles are the principle opacity at solar wavelengths. Most past work in modeling these particles has assumed spherical particles. However, observational evidence strongly favors fractal shapes for the haze particles. We consider the implications of fractal particles for the thermal structure and near infrared opacity of Titan's atmosphere. We find that assuming fractal particles with the optical properties based on laboratory tholin material and with a production rate that allows for a match to the geometric albedo results in warmer troposphere and surface temperatures compared to spherical particles. In the near infrared (1-3 microns) the predicted opacity of the fractal particles is up to a factor of two less than for spherical particles. This has implications for the ability of Cassini to image Titan's surface at 1 micron.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cmckay@mail.arc.nasa.gov

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