Title

The production of Titan's ultraviolet nitrogen airglow

Authors

Authors

M. H. Stevens; J. Gustin; J. M. Ajello; J. S. Evans; R. R. Meier; A. J. Kochenash; A. W. Stephan; A. I. F. Stewart; L. W. Esposito; W. E. McClintock; G. Holsclaw; E. T. Bradley; B. R. Lewis;A. N. Heays

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

J. Geophys. Res-Space Phys.

Keywords

ELECTRON-IMPACT; CROSS-SECTIONS; UPPER-ATMOSPHERE; VOYAGER-1 ENCOUNTER; MEDIUM-RESOLUTION; EUV EMISSION; N-2; DAYGLOW; BAND; DISSOCIATION; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Abstract

The Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) observed Titan's dayside limb in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and far ultraviolet (FUV) on 22 June 2009 from a mean distance of 23 Titan radii. These high-quality observations reveal the same EUV and FUV emissions arising from photoelectron excitation and photofragmentation of molecular nitrogen (N(2)) as found on Earth. We investigate both of these solar driven processes with a terrestrial airglow model adapted to Titan and find that total predicted radiances for the two brightest N(2) band systems agree with the observed peak radiances to within 5%. Using N(2) densities constrained from in situ observations by the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer on Cassini, the altitude of the observed limb peak of the EUV and FUV emission bands is between 840 and 1060 km and generally consistent with model predictions. We find no evidence for carbon emissions in Titan's FUV airglow in contrast to previous Titan airglow studies using UVIS data. In their place, we identify several vibrational bands from the N(2) Vegard-Kaplan system arising from photoelectron impact with predicted peak radiances in agreement with observations. These Titan UV airglow observations are therefore comprised of emissions arising only from solar processes on N(2) with no detectable magnetospheric contribution. Weaker EUV Carroll-Yoshino N(2) bands within the v' = 3, 4, and 6 progressions between 870 and 1020 angstrom are underpredicted by about a factor of five while the (0,1) band near 980 angstrom is overpredicted by about a factor of three.

Journal Title

Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics

Volume

116

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

17

WOS Identifier

WOS:000290415100001

ISSN

0148-0227

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