36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 6 Titan I: Surface, Troposphere, etc.
Oral, Monday, November 8, 2004, 3:30-6:00pm, Clark

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[6.06] Characteristics of Titan's Clouds from VIMS T0 Observations

C. A. Griffith (University of Arizona), K. H. Baines, B. Buratti (JPL), R. N. Clark (US Geological Survey), P. Drossart (Observatoire de Paris), T. C. Owen (University of Hawaii), R. M. Nelson (JPL), Cassini VIMS Team

Over the past 4 years, ground-based images have shown that Titan sports a high cloud systems on a daily basis, which have been observed exclusively in Titan's south polar region. These clouds are composed of methane ice and may be a component of a liquid cycle similar to Earth's hydrologic cycle, with clouds, rain and seas. In July, Cassini gave us the first direct view of Titan's high clouds as the spacecraft passed below Titan's south pole. Observations by Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) illuminate the altitudes, thicknesses and extents of Titan's clouds, which were dramatically imaged in detail by the ISS instrument. We find, consistent with ground-based observations, that the clouds reside in the high troposphere. In addition, the clouds are optically thick over a region of at least 100 km. Here I will discuss the characteristics of Titan's clouds as measured by VIMS, and implications of these results in terms of the formation of Titan's clouds.

This work is supported by Cassini VIMS funds and the NASA planetary astronomy program

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