Titan Stratospheric Haze Bands Observed in Cassini VIMS as Tracers of Meridional Circulation

Research areas:
Year:
2022
Authors:
  • N. W. Kutsop
  • A. G. Hayes
  • P. M. Corlies
  • S. Le Mouélic
  • J. I. Lunine
  • C. A. Nixon
  • P. Rannou
  • S. Rodriguez
  • M. T. Roman
  • Christophe Sotin
  • T. Tokano
  • The Cassini VIMS Team
Journal:
The Planetary Science Journal
Volume:
3
Number:
5
Pages:
114
Month:
May
BibTex:
Abstract:
We analyzed Cassini data to derive the nature and evolution of circumglobal annuli observed in the stratosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. The annuli were observed between 2004 and 2017 in data acquired by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer on board the Cassini spacecraft. We observed a north polar annulus, an equatorial annulus, and several secondary annuli. Pre-Cassini telescopic observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck reported an atmospheric feature consistent with the presence of a south polar annulus between 1999 and 2001, although this feature was not observed by Cassini. Relative to the atmosphere near the annuli, they appear dark at 300–500 nm and bright in methane absorption channels such as the ones at 900 and 1150 nm. The stratosphere seems to rotate around the north pole. Alternatively, it seems to rotate about a point offset from solid-body rotation axis by a few degrees; this point in turn rotates around the solid-body rotation axis.