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Distribution of nitriles in Titan’s atmosphere from 2013 to 2016 with ALMA

Presentation #413.04 in the session “Titan”. Cross-listed as presentation #405.03.

Published onOct 03, 2021
Distribution of nitriles in Titan’s atmosphere from 2013 to 2016 with ALMA

The presence of organic molecules in Titan’s atmosphere poses an intriguing challenge in the post-Cassini era. The probe’s findings sparked a wealth of new questions about the chemical composition and dynamics of the moon’s atmosphere. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is sensitive in frequency ranges essential to the investigation of Titan’s atmospheric composition and affords high resolution spectra for analysis and imaging. From 2012 to 2017, Titan served as a popular calibration object for ALMA observations, and many observations of the moon — both short flux calibration observations and longer dedicated observations — are available publicly in the ALMA Science Archive. We have analyzed these archived data to produce maps of Titan’s atmosphere from 2013 to 2016.

Here we examine maps of C2H5CN (ethyl cyanide) [1] in Titan’s atmosphere and compare its temporally-evolving distribution with previous molecular maps. We contribute to an extensive characterization of the distribution of Titan’s atmospheric constituents [2], with the goal of mapping many of Titan’s organic molecules each year for which data are available. We discuss the implications of our results for Titan’s atmospheric chemistry and propose future work to be completed.


[1] Cordiner, M. A. et al. (2015) APJL, 800, L14.

[2] Thelen, A. E. et al. (2019) Icarus, 319, 417 - 432.

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