A Tenuous Carbon Dioxide Atmosphere on Jupiter's Moon Callisto

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Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 820-821
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.820

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An off-limb scan of Callisto was conducted by the Galileo near-infrared mapping spectrometer to search for a carbon dioxide atmosphere. Airglow in the carbon dioxide ν3 band was observed up to 100 kilometers above the surface and indicates the presence of a tenuous carbon dioxide atmosphere with surface pressure of 7.5 × 10−12 bar and a temperature of about 150 kelvin, close to the surface temperature. A lifetime on the order of 4 years is suggested, based on photoionization and magnetospheric sweeping. Either the atmosphere is transient and was formed recently or some process is currently supplying carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

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