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Evidence for Possible Clouds in Pluto's Present Day Atmosphere

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

S.A. Stern, J.A. Kammer, E.L. Barth, K.N. Singer, T.R. Lauer, J.D. Hofgartner, H.A. Weaver, K. Ennico, C.B. Olkin, L.A. Young, the New Horizons LORRI Instrument Team, the New Horizons Ralph Instrument Team, the New Horizons Atmospheres Investigation Team
(Submitted on 11 Jun 2017)

Several trace constituents can reach saturation vapor pressure in Pluto's present day atmosphere. As such, we describe a search for discrete could features in Pluto's atmosphere using New Horizons data obtained on 14-15 July 2015, during the Pluto flyby closest approach. We report that Pluto's present day atmosphere is at least largely (>99% by surface area) free of discrete clouds. We also report a handful of features that may plausibly be clouds, all of which were detected obliquely and at high phase observing geometry. No cloud candidates were identified away from the terminators or in low phase (backscattering geometry) images.

Comments:    18 pages, 7 figures, 3 tables, The Astronomical Journal, 2017, in press
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1706.03389 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1706.03389v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Alan Stern 
[v1] Sun, 11 Jun 2017 19:11:33 GMT (5797kb)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.03389

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