Comparative planetology > Sushil Atreya

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The atmosphere of Titan

Sushil Atreya
University of Michigan, USA


Abstract: Atmospheres have been discovered on only a handful of the one hundred and seventy or so moons in the solar system. Amongst them Titan is found to have the most massive and earth-like atmosphere of nitrogen, with a trace of methane thrown in for good measure. Methane to Titan is somewhat like water to Earth, displaying a cycle similar to the hydrological cycle. The combination of nitrogen and methane is responsible for Titan's extensive photochemical "smog", the hydrocarbon haze. In this talk, I will review our current understanding of the origin and chemical evolution of Titan's atmosphere together with the moon's hydrocarbon cycle, based on observations from Cassini- Huygens mission.

Additional materials: PDF of slides | Huygens video | Juno video | Mars Science Laboratory video

ExoClimes 2010, Exeter, Tuesday 7th September 2010