Titan's upper atmospheric structure derived from Voyager ultraviolet spectrometer observations
The Voyager 1 Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS) observations are the only direct measurements we have of Titan’s upper atmosphere. Previous analysis of the two UVS solar occultations yielded densities for N2 CH4 and
We have undertaken a reanalysis of the UVS solar occultations to resolve these differences and to extract the maximum amount of information from the data. In so doing, we have developed a detailed model of the UVS detector and a new analysis method tailored to retrieving multiple species from an occultation of a finite-sized source such as the sun.
Our analysis has yielded density profiles for nine species in Titan’s upper atmosphere and a new measurement of the thermospheric temperature. We find higher N2 densities and lower CH4 and
Titan’s atmosphere is one of the most interesting in the solar system. The composition and high degree of photochemical activity elicit comparisons to the early terrestrial atmosphere and considerations about the origins of life. Our results provide improved and expanded constraints for the atmospheric models and should provide scientists with a better view of Titan’s upper atmosphere, which is important in planning for the upcoming Cassini mission.