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The physical nature of Titan's aerosols: Laboratory simulations

Authors
Journal
Advances in Space Research
0273-1177
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
15
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0273-1177(99)80102-1
Keywords
  • Section 4 Chemical Evolution On Titan
Disciplines
  • Chemistry

Abstract

Abstract The atmosphere of Titan is known to contain aerosols, as evidenced by the Voyager observations of at least three haze layers. Such aerosols can have significant effects on the reflection spectrum of Titan and on the chemistry and thermal structure of its atmosphere. To investigate some of these effects, laboratory simulations of the chemistry of Titan's atmosphere have been done. The results of these studies show that photolysis of acetylene, ethylene, and hydrogen cyanide, known constituents of Titan's atmosphere, yields sub-micron sized spheres, with mean diameters ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 μm, depending on the pressures of the reactant gases. Most of the spheres are contained in near-linear aggregates. The formation of the aggregates is consistent with models of Titan's reflection spectrum and polarization, which are best fit with non-spherical particles. At room temperature, the particles are very sticky, but their properties at low temperatures on Titan are presently not known.

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