Title

Modeling Waves in Titan’s Upper Atmosphere

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and is the second to the largest moon in our solar system. Titan’s atmosphere is unique since it is the only moon that has a dense atmosphere. Due to Titan’s low gravitational pull, Titan’s atmosphere extends ten times further than Earth’s atmosphere. To understand this sophisticated atmosphere, we used data from 52 flybys collected by Cassini's Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer to characterize wave-like features in the density and temperature of Titan’s upper atmosphere. Python code was developed to import and plot density data. Perturbations in the data were fitted with spherical harmonic wave functions that gave the wave amplitude, wavelength, and decay rate; which were compiled into histograms to find the mean. The amplitudes and wavelengths were plotted to look for systematic trends in latitude, time, and solar EUV flux. A model of Titan’s atmosphere was then created with a specific wave pattern, and the density was extracted along the trajectory of Cassini. This wave amplitudes and wavelengths can be adjusted in this model to try to replicate the actual perturbations. The next step will be to compare the simulated perturbations with the real data.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Darci Snowden

Department/Program

Physics

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Modeling Waves in Titan’s Upper Atmosphere

Ellensburg

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and is the second to the largest moon in our solar system. Titan’s atmosphere is unique since it is the only moon that has a dense atmosphere. Due to Titan’s low gravitational pull, Titan’s atmosphere extends ten times further than Earth’s atmosphere. To understand this sophisticated atmosphere, we used data from 52 flybys collected by Cassini's Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer to characterize wave-like features in the density and temperature of Titan’s upper atmosphere. Python code was developed to import and plot density data. Perturbations in the data were fitted with spherical harmonic wave functions that gave the wave amplitude, wavelength, and decay rate; which were compiled into histograms to find the mean. The amplitudes and wavelengths were plotted to look for systematic trends in latitude, time, and solar EUV flux. A model of Titan’s atmosphere was then created with a specific wave pattern, and the density was extracted along the trajectory of Cassini. This wave amplitudes and wavelengths can be adjusted in this model to try to replicate the actual perturbations. The next step will be to compare the simulated perturbations with the real data.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/87