DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 12. Titan II
Oral, Chairs: H. G. Roe and M. H. Stevens, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 1:30-3:00pm, DeAnza I-II

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[12.04] Understanding the differences of Saturnís and Titanís thermospheres

I.C.F. Mueller-Wodarg (Space & Atmospheric Physics Group, Imperial College London), M. Mendillo (Center for Space Physics, Boston University), R.V. Yelle (Lunar & Planetary Lab, University of Arizona)

Saturn and its largest moon Titan not only both possess permanent atmospheres, but are also located at the same distance from the Sun. Their comparison thus offers us the possibility of examining which other factors, apart from distance to the Sun, determine basic parameters such as exospheric temperatures and their diurnal and seasonal structures, global wind speeds and circulation as well as global structures of neutral and charged particle densities. The wealth of observational evidence expected from the forthcoming Cassini-Huygens mission will play an important role in this comparison between Saturn and Titan.

In preparation for these observations we have carried out theoretical studies to examine the roles of fundamental properties such as the bodiesí rotation speed, mass and size, their atmospheric composition as well as coupling to atmospheric regions below and above. We will present results from numerical calculations by two recently developed global general circulation models (GCMís) of Saturn and Titan in order to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying physics which generate differences in their thermospheres.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.