Ground based Mid-IR Observations of Temporally Varying Ethylene Emission on Jupiter

P. N. Romani, D. E. Jennings, G. L. Bjoraker, P. V. Sada, R. Boyle, G. McCabe

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Ethylene (C2H4)is an important species in our understanding of hydrocarbon photochemistry in the atmospheres of the giant planets. It also provides a sensitive probe of conditions at the 10-microbar level in Jupiter's atmosphere, a region that is strongly influenced by aurora. We performed high-resolution spectral observations of C2H4 at 10.53 microns (949.5 cm-1) on Jupiter with Celeste, a Goddard-developed cryogenic echelle spectrometer, during October-November 1998 at the McMath-Pierce telescope of the National Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak and during June 2000 at the IRTF at Mt. Kea in Hawai'i. We observed C2H4 line emission in the equatorial region and enhanced emission in the auroral latitudes. We modeled the emission using photochemical model profiles and either multiplied the model profile by a constant factor, adjusted the temperature in the isothermal region of the atmosphere, or adjusted the pressure level where the large thermal gradient starts. Analysis of the southern and northern auroral region emission yielded similar results with the exception of one day (21 June 2000) in the northern hemisphere "hot spot: (LIII 180 degrees). On this day the C2H4 emission was exceptionally bright. To match the emission required either multiplying the photochemical model profile by 25, or increasing the isothermal region temperature from 168K to 261K, or lowering the start of the temperature gradient region to 0.055 mbar. Of these three possibilities the increase in C2H4 abundance profile provided the poorest fit. Since the C2H4 emission on either side of this day was lower, and similar to each other, whatever mechanism that caused the increase in emission had to "turn on and off" within 48 hours. Similar short term behavior has been seen with Cassini-CIRS (see abstract by Sada et al.) This work is supported by the NASA Planetary Astronomy Program.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #50
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


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