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      Chemical sources of haze formation in Titan's atmosphere

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      Planetary and Space Science

      Elsevier BV

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          Interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - The infrared emission bands, the excitation/emission mechanism, and the astrophysical implications

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            Photochemistry of the atmosphere of Titan: comparison between model and observations.

            The photochemistry of simple molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms in the atmosphere of Titan has been investigated using updated chemical schemes and our own estimates of a number of key rate coefficients. Proper exospheric boundary conditions, vertical transport, and condensation processes at the tropopause have been incorporated into the model. It is argued that he composition, climatology, and evolution of Titan's atmosphere are controlled by five major processes: (a) photolysis and photosensitized dissociation of CH4; (b) conversion of H to H2 and escape of hydrogen; (c) synthesis of higher hydrocarbons; (d) coupling between nitrogen and hydrocarbons; (e) coupling between oxygen and hydrocarbons. Starting with N2, CH4, and H2O, and invoking interactions with ultraviolet sunlight, energetic electrons, and cosmic rays, the model satisfactorily accounts for the concentrations of minor species observed by the Voyager IRIS and UVS instruments. Photochemistry is responsible for converting the simpler atmospheric species into more complex organic compounds, which are subsequently condensed at the tropopause and deposited on the surface. Titan might have lost 5.6 x 10(4), 1.8 x 10(3), and 4.0 g cm-2, or the equivalent of 8, 0.25, and 5 x 10(-4) bars of CH4, N2, and CO, respectively, over geologic time. Implications of abiotic organic synthesis on Titan for the origin of life on Earth are briefly discussed.
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              A New Look at the Saturn System: The Voyager 2 Images

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Planetary and Space Science
                Planetary and Space Science
                Elsevier BV
                00320633
                December 2003
                December 2003
                : 51
                : 14-15
                : 1017-1033
                Article
                10.1016/j.pss.2003.06.003
                © 2003

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