Status Report

A possibly universal red chromophore for modeling color variations on Jupiter

By SpaceRef Editor
June 13, 2017
Filed under , ,

L.A. Sromovsky, K.H. Baines, P.M. Fry, R.W. Carlson
(Submitted on 8 Jun 2017)

A new laboratory-generated chemical compound made from photodissociated ammonia (NH3) molecules reacting with acetylene (C2H2) was suggested as a possible coloring agent for Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) by Carlson et al. (2016, Icarus 274, 106-115). Baines et al. (2016, Icarus, submitted) showed that the GRS spectrum measured by the visual channels of the Cassini VIMS instrument in 2000 could be accurately fit by a cloud model in which the chromophore appeared as a physically thin layer of small particles immediately above the main cloud layer of the GRS. Here we show that the same chromophore and same layer location can also provide close matches to the short wave spectra of many other cloud features on Jupiter, suggesting this material may be a nearly universal chromophore that could explain the various degrees of red coloration on Jupiter. This is a robust conclusion, even for 12% changes in VIMS calibration and large uncertainties in the refractive index of the main cloud layer due to uncertain fractions of NH4SH and NH3 in its cloud particles. The chromophore layer can account for color variations among north and south equatorial belts, equatorial zone, and the Great Red Spot, by varying particle size from 0.12 microns to 0.29 microns and 1-micron optical depth from 0.06 to 0.76. The total mass of the chromophore layer is much less variable, ranging from 18 to 30 micrograms/cm^2, except in the equatorial zone, where it is only 10-13 micrograms/cm^2. We also found a depression of the ammonia volume mixing ratio in the two belt regions, which averaged 0.4-0.5 X 10^{-4} immediately below the ammonia condensation level, while the other regions averaged twice that value.

Comments:    13 pages, 12 figures
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference:    Icarus 291 (2017) 232-244
DOI:    10.1016/j.icarus.2016.12.014
Cite as:    arXiv:1706.02779 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1706.02779v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Lawrence Sromovsky 
[v1] Thu, 8 Jun 2017 21:46:42 GMT (194kb)

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