A mysterious gas found in the atmosphere of Titan


15/03/2013

Pictures featuring unusual fluorescent glow emanating from the surface of Titan gave scientists circling the orbit of Saturn, visual-infrared spectrometer (VIMS) Cassini. This indicates the presence in the composition of its atmosphere of a certain gas which is different from the others already known to researchers.

The strongest spectral emission in the infrared wavelength - about 3.28 micrometers. Emissions of the main component of the atmosphere the satellite - methane - similar length. Therefore, scientists have never been able to notice that gas.

Luminescence can be seen only on the illuminated side of the satellite due to the fact that the fluorescence produced only sunlight collision with gas molecules. It occurs at a height of from 600 to 1,250 miles above the surface, reaching the maximum intensity at an altitude of 950 km. New findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Researchers in the detailed analysis it was established that this discovery is not associated with interference spectrometer Cassini neither methane nor any other known gas, which is under Titan. Subsequently scientists have yet to be discovered classification, but still they involve the presence of a cryptic gas molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as emission of 3.28 micrometers typical for this material.


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