Infrared Observations of the Jovian System from Voyager 2

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Science  23 Nov 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4421, pp. 952-956
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4421.952


Infrared spectra obtainedfrom Voyager 2 have provided additional data on the Jovian system, complementing those obtained from Voyager 1. The abundance ratio of ethane to acetylene in Jupiter's atmosphere appears to be about three times larger in the polar regions than at lower latitudes. A decidedly hemispherical asymmetry exists, with somewhat higher ratios prevailing in northern latitudes. An overall increase in the abundance ratio by a factor of about 1.7 appears to have occurred between the Voyager 1 and 2 encounters. Global brightness temperature maps of Jupiter at 226 and 602 cm–1 exhibit a large amount of local- and planetary-scale structure, as well as temporal variability. Although heterogeneous cloud structure and ammonia concentration in the lower troposphere may contribute to the appearance of the 226-cm–1 map, the detail in the 602-cm–1 maps probably represents the actual horizontal thermal structure near the tropopause and suggests that dynamical heating and cooling processes are important. Low-latitude surface temperatures on the Galilean satellites rangefrom approximately 80 K on the dark sides to 155 K at the subsolar point on Callisto. Below a thin insulating layer, the thermal inertia of Callisto is somewhat greater than that of Earth's moon. Upper limits on the infrared optical depth of the Jovian ring rangingfrom approximately 3 x 10–4 at 250 cm–1 to 3 x 10–3 at 600 cm–1 have been found.