An analysis of Pluto occultation light curves using an atmospheric radiativeconductive model
Abstract
We use a radiativeconductive model to leastsquares fit Pluto stellar occultation light curve data. This model predicts atmospheric temperature based on surface temperature, surface pressure, surface radius, and CH _{4} and CO mixing ratios, from which model light curves are to be calculated. The model improves upon previous techniques for deriving Pluto's atmospheric thermal structure from stellar occultation light curves by calculating temperature (as a function of height) caused by heating and cooling by species in Pluto's atmosphere, instead of a general assumption that temperature follows a power law with height or some other idealized function. We are able to fit for model surface radius, surface pressure, and CH _{4} mixing ratio with one of the 2006 datasets and for surface pressure and CH _{4} mixing ratio for other datasets from the years 1988, 2002, 2006, and 2008. It was not possible to fit for CO mixing ratio and surface temperature because the light curves are not sensitive to these parameters. We determine that the model surface radius, under the assumption of a stratosphere only (i.e. no troposphere) model in radiativeconductive balance, is 118010+20km. The CH _{4} mixing ratio results are more scattered with time and are in the range of 1.89.4 × 10 ^{3}. The surface pressure results show an increasing trend from 1988 to 2002, although it is not as dramatic as the factor of 2 from previous studies.
 Publication:

Icarus
 Pub Date:
 January 2011
 DOI:
 10.1016/j.icarus.2010.08.018
 Bibcode:
 2011Icar..211..804Z
 Keywords:

 Earth Science