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The source of heavy organics and aerosols in Titan's atmosphere

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2008

J. H. Waite Jr.
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu
D. T. Young
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu
A. J. Coates
Affiliation:
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London
F. J. Crary
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu
B. A. Magee
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu
K. E. Mandt
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu
J. H. Westlake
Affiliation:
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. 78228, email: hwaite@swri.edu Unversity of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX. 78249
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Abstract

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Ion-neutral chemistry in Titan's upper atmosphere (~ 1000 km altitude) is an unexpectedly prodigious source of hydrocarbon-nitrile compounds. We report observations from the Cassini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS; Waite et al. 2004) and Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS; Young et al. 2004) that allow us to follow the formation of the organic material from the initial ionization and dissociation of nitrogen and methane driven by several free energy sources (extreme ultraviolet radiation and energetic ions and electrons) to the formation of negative ions with masses exceeding 10,000 amu.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2008

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