NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0035

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0035


PI: Henry Roe, Lowell Observatory, hroe@lowell.edu
Address: 14, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA

CoI: Emily Schaller, Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona
CoI: Michael Brown, Caltech
CoI: Chadwick Trujillo, Gemini Observatory

Title: Titan's Methane Weather post-Equinox: Seasonal climate change and surface geology

Abstract: Recently in this program we discovered clouds in the north polar region that are formed via lake-effect processes (Brown et al. 2008) and observed a massive tropical storm that induced Rossby-wave clouds throughout the southern hemisphere (Schaller et al. 2009). Previously we discovered Titan's mid-latitude clouds (Roe et al. 2005a) and that their locations are controlled by surface processes, possibly including cryovolcanoes, geysering, and/or the opening of surface cracks (Roe et al. 2005b). We observed a massive storm engulfing the south pole (Schaller et al. 2006a) and found a near-disappearance of south polar cloud activity as the season moved further into southern summer (Schaller et al. 2006B). Observing Titan's clouds requires only a small amount (15-25 min) of large (8-10 meter) adaptive optics telescope time and queued Gemini observations are uniquely suited to this program. As Titan's northern spring progresses (equinox was in August 2009), continued observations are required to monitor the advance of the planetary scale monsoon, driving new clouds in the northern and southern polar regions, and identify and monitor regions of active surface geology.


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