Saturn Stratospheric Hazes from Cassini Limb Images

Grant #: NNX11AK43G
Senior Scientist: Kathy Rages

We will analyze Cassini data to produce detailed haze extinction profiles for both northern and southern latitudes on Saturn down to pressure levels ~50 mbar, with methods similar to those used by Rages et al. (1999) on Galileo images of Jupiter, and with the expectation of similar results. We will perform a similar analysis of archival Voyager data to explore Saturn's southern mid-latitudes almost one saturnian year earlier. We will use this information to determine the fractal scattering properties of the stratospheric hazes, and in combination with a microphysics model including fractal aggregate hazes, to determine how and where these hazes are being produced, transported, and destroyed. 

This will further characterize Saturn's northern and southern stratospheric environment around the time of northern spring equinox. The proposed work contributes to understanding the atmospheric properties of outer planets in general and Saturn in particular, and to understanding the production and effects of stratospheric hazes which are ubiquitous in these atmospheres. We address structure, composition, deposition of energy, and other aspects of outer planet atmospheres.