Long-wavelength density fluctuations resolved in Pluto's high atmosphere

Donald W Mccarthy, William B. Hubbard, C. A. Kulesa, S. D. Benecchi, M. J. Person, J. L. Elliot, A. A S Gulbis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Near-infrared measurements of the occultation of star P445.3 by Pluto on 2007 March 18 reveal that Pluto's upper atmosphere (200-400 km altitude) is unexpectedly dynamic. At a wavelength of 1.6 μm, numerous vertical fluctuations (8-20 km) of density are detected with unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio. These fluctuations are achromatic, nearly limb-aligned, and fully resolved along a 1000 km path over a pressure range of 0.1-0.7 μbar (0.01 to 0.07 Pa). Vertical wavelength increases with altitude indicating a high-frequency cutoff operating on a broad-band spectrum of buoyancy ("gravity") waves generated deeper in Pluto's atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1522
Number of pages4
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume136
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

Fingerprint

Pluto (planet)
Pluto
Pluto atmosphere
wavelength
atmospheres
atmosphere
upper atmosphere
occultation
gravity waves
limbs
buoyancy
wavelengths
signal to noise ratios
cut-off
broadband
stars
gravity wave
signal-to-noise ratio
limb
near infrared

Keywords

  • Kuiper Belt
  • Occultations
  • Planets and satellites: individual (Pluto)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Mccarthy, D. W., Hubbard, W. B., Kulesa, C. A., Benecchi, S. D., Person, M. J., Elliot, J. L., & Gulbis, A. A. S. (2008). Long-wavelength density fluctuations resolved in Pluto's high atmosphere. Astronomical Journal, 136(4), 1519-1522. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/136/4/1519

Long-wavelength density fluctuations resolved in Pluto's high atmosphere. / Mccarthy, Donald W; Hubbard, William B.; Kulesa, C. A.; Benecchi, S. D.; Person, M. J.; Elliot, J. L.; Gulbis, A. A S.

In: Astronomical Journal, Vol. 136, No. 4, 01.10.2008, p. 1519-1522.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mccarthy, DW, Hubbard, WB, Kulesa, CA, Benecchi, SD, Person, MJ, Elliot, JL & Gulbis, AAS 2008, 'Long-wavelength density fluctuations resolved in Pluto's high atmosphere', Astronomical Journal, vol. 136, no. 4, pp. 1519-1522. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/136/4/1519
Mccarthy, Donald W ; Hubbard, William B. ; Kulesa, C. A. ; Benecchi, S. D. ; Person, M. J. ; Elliot, J. L. ; Gulbis, A. A S. / Long-wavelength density fluctuations resolved in Pluto's high atmosphere. In: Astronomical Journal. 2008 ; Vol. 136, No. 4. pp. 1519-1522.
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