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Analysis of Jupiter’s Disturbed Equatorial Zone from APO/NAIC and IRTF/SpeX

Presentation #326.05 in the session Origin and Evolution of Giant Planet Systems II (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Analysis of Jupiter’s Disturbed Equatorial Zone from APO/NAIC and IRTF/SpeX

Equatorial Zone (EZ) disturbances are major weather events that take place quasi-periodically, every 6-8 or 12-14 years (Antuñano et al., 2018, J. Geophys. Res., 45, 10,987–10,995). During these events, the EZ normally turns a reddish-brown color and the normally thick EZ clouds are cleared out, as evidenced by a marked increase in 5-µm thermal emission. Starting in 2018, a disturbance began, as predicted by Antuñano et al. (2018); however, while the reddish coloration occurred, the same degree of cloud-clearing as seen in previous disturbances was not observed. During this time, brightness increases in the central region of the EZ at 2.17 µm, which probes particles in the 80-200 mbar in Jupiter’s atmosphere, indicated an increase in the abundance of aerosols apparently lofted up to that pressure level. Here we present an analysis of the connection between that haze layer, its change in color, and the dynamical mechanisms that caused the event. We present the results of our analysis of near-simultaneous observations of Jupiter’s atmosphere from both the New Mexico State University’s Acousto-optic Imaging Camera (NAIC) at Apache Point Observatory (APO) and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility’s (IRTF) SpeX guide camera. This combination of optical and near-IR images allows us to better characterize the color and structure of the reddish haze that appeared during the most recent disturbance. Using the NEMESIS radiative transfer software package to reproduce both sets of observations, we employ atmospheric models containing continuous aerosol profiles for an uppermost cloud layer and haze/chromophore layer, and chromophore optical constants developed from Carlson et al. (2016, Icarus 274, 106-115). This combination of datasets and the derived aerosol abundance at altitude will provide vital clues as to the cause of this enigmatic weather event, such as convective strength and the direction of any upwelling or downwelling processes.

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