PAH's in Titan's Upper Atmosphere

Thursday, 6 June, 2013 - 12:30
Prof. Manuel López-Puertas
IAA-CSIC

Observations of Titan's atmosphere made with the VIMS instrument on board the Cassini satellite show a strong limb emission around 3.3 µm at high atmospheric altitudes (above 700 km). This emission exhibits the typical spectral signatures of the strong CH4 bands. A detailed analysis of the spectra reveals, however, an additional strong emission centered at 3.28 µm and peaking at about 950 km. We have untangled this spectral emission and found it produced by large amount of heavy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's). I will describe this research and will briefly discuss about the important consequences of this finding on the origin of Titan's main haze layer.