HST observation of the atmospheric composition of Jupiter's equatorial region: Evidence for tropospheric C2H2

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This paper presents the first detailed analysis of acetylene absorption features observed longward of 190.0 nm in a jovian spectrum by the Faint Object Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The presence of two features located near 207.0 nm can only be explained by a substantial abundance of acetylene in the upper troposphere. Using a Rayleigh-Raman radiative transfer model, it was determined that the acetylene vertical profile is characterized by a decrease in the mole fraction with increasing pressure in the upper stratosphere, a minimum around 14 to 29 mbar, followed by an increase to about 1.5 × 10-7 in the upper troposphere. Longward of 220 nm, the relatively high contrast of Raman features to the continuum precludes the existence of an optically significant amount of clouds from 150 to 500 mbar unless they are highly reflective. Instead, the reflectivity at these long wavelengths is determined by stratospheric, not tropospheric, scatterers and absorbers. Analysis of the data also suggests that ammonia is extremely undersaturated at pressures below 700 mbar. However, no firm conclusions can be reached because of the uncertainties surrounding its cross section longward of 217.0 nm, which are due to vibrationally excited states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-427
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003



  • Atmosphere
  • Jupiter
  • Radiative transfer
  • Spectroscopy
  • UV observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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