Title

THE 1998 NOVEMBER 14 OCCULTATION OF GSC 0622-00345 BY SATURN. II. STRATOSPHERIC THERMAL PROFILE, POWER SPECTRUM, AND GRAVITY WAVES

Authors

Authors

J. Harrington; R. G. French;K. Matcheva

Comments

Authors: contact us about adding a copy of your work at STARS@ucf.edu

Abbreviated Journal Title

Astrophys. J.

Keywords

atmospheric effects; methods: statistical; occultations; planets and; satellites: atmospheres; planets and satellites: individual (Saturn); waves; STELLAR OCCULTATION; RADIO OCCULTATION; MIDDLE ATMOSPHERE; JUPITERS; THERMOSPHERE; UNIVERSAL SPECTRUM; VERTICAL STRUCTURE; BUOYANCY WAVES; GIANT PLANETS; FLUCTUATIONS; DISSIPATION; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Abstract

On 1998 November 14, Saturn and its rings occulted the star GSC 0622-00345. The occultation latitude was 55 degrees.5 S. This paper analyzes the 2.3 mu m light curve derived by Harrington & French. A fixed-baseline isothermal fit to the light curve has a temperature of 140 +/- 3 K, assuming a mean molecular mass of 2.35 AMU. The thermal profile obtained by numerical inversion is valid between 1 and 60 mu bar. The vertical temperature gradient is >0.2 K km(-1) more stable than the adiabatic lapse rate, but it still shows the alternating-rounded-spiked features seen in many temperature gradient profiles from other atmospheric occultations and usually attributed to breaking gravity (buoyancy) waves. We conduct a wavelet analysis of the thermal profile, and show that, even with our low level of noise, scintillation due to turbulence in Earth's atmosphere can produce large temperature swings in light-curve inversions. Spurious periodic features in the "reliable" region of a wavelet amplitude spectrum can exceed 0.3 K in our data. We also show that gravity-wave model fits to noisy isothermal light curves can lead to convincing wave "detections." We provide new significance tests for localized wavelet amplitudes, wave model fits, and global power spectra of inverted occultation light curves by assessing the effects of pre- and post-occultation noise on these parameters. Based on these tests, we detect several significant ridges and isolated peaks in wavelet amplitude, to which we fit a gravity wave model. We also strongly detect the global power spectrum of thermal fluctuations in Saturn's atmosphere, which resembles the "universal" (modified Desaubies) curve associated with saturated spectra of propagating gravity waves on Earth and Jupiter.

Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal

Volume

716

Issue/Number

1

Publication Date

1-1-2010

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

404

Last Page

416

WOS Identifier

WOS:000277960000029

ISSN

0004-637X

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