NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0301

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0301


PI: Leslie Young, Southwest Research Institute, layoung@boulder.swri.edu
Address: Department of Space Studies, 1050 Walnut St, Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302, USA

CoI: Henry Roe, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Eliot Young, Southwest Research Institute
CoI: Jason Cook, NASA Ames

Title: Pluto's Atmospheric CH_4: Variations in time, space, and altitude

Abstract: We propose observations of gaseous methane on Pluto with GNIRS+AO at three specific sub-observer longitudes to (1) establish a baseline for temporal change, (2) search for spatial variability in gaseous methane, and (3) refine the vertical distribution of gaseous CH_4. The three longitudes, separated by roughly 120\deg, correspond to the longitudes of minimum CH_4 frost, maximum CH_4 frost, and maximum ratio of nearly pure to highly diluted CH_4 frost. These three terrains are expected to produce detectable differences in the gaseous CH_4. These observations will provide a temporal and spatial context in which to place the New Horizons encounter with Pluto in 2015.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0301

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