NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0216

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0216


PI: Glenn Orton, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, go@scn.jpl.nasa.gov
Address: MS 169-237, 4800 Oak Grove, Drive Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Leigh Fletcher, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
CoI: Therese Encrenaz, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon
CoI: Heidi Hammel, Space Science Institute
CoI: Thomas Geballe, Gemini Observatory - North
CoI: Amanda Mainzer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Title: First Thermal Maps of the Stratosphere of Uranus: Follow-up to Detection of Rotational Variability by the Spitzer IRS

Abstract: We propose to make the first maps of the thermal structure of the stratosphere of Uranus. Such maps will determine the extent of radiative heating in an environment of extreme seasonal variability, with the 98-degree inclination of the rotation axis of Uranus to the ecliptic. Regularly spaced observations during a single rotation of Uranus will allow us to examine the extent of longitudinal variability in its stratosphere. These observations will follow up the detection of strong rotational variability in our Spitzer IRS disk-averaged spectra in emission features of methane, ethane and acetylene. This detection implies the presence of a thermal feature or features of high amplitude which have never been imaged before. Because Uranus is a faint thermal object, we propose to image it at 13.1 microns, the brightest possible radiance, arising from stratospheric acetylene and ethane.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0216

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