Astronomers revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan, Planet researchers using the Atacama Massif (ALMA) with large millimeters / submillimeters have revealed the secrets of Titan’s atmosphere, Saturn’s largest moon.
The team found chemical traces in the titanium atmosphere that showed that cosmic rays coming from outside the solar system affected the chemical reactions involved in the formation of organic nitrogen molecules. Now the Astronomers revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan.
This is the first observation confirmation of the process and influences understanding of Titan’s enchanting environment.
Titan is very interesting because of its unique atmosphere with a number of organic molecules that make up the prebiotic environment.
Takahiro Ino, a scientist at the University of Tokyo, and his team use ALMA to detect chemical processes in the titanium atmosphere. They found a weak but dense signal for acetonitrile (CH3CN) and the rare isotope CH3C15N in ALMA data. Astronomers revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan.
There are two important actors in atmospheric chemical processes; ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and cosmic rays from outside the solar system.
In the upper atmosphere, UV light selectively destroys nitrogen molecules containing 15N, because UV rays with specific wavelengths that interact with 14N14N are easily absorbed at this height.
Nitrogen produced at this level therefore tends to have a high frequency of 15 N. On the other hand, cosmic rays penetrate deeper and interact with nitrogen molecules containing 14N. As a result, there are differences in the molecular frequencies of 14N and 15N. Astronomers revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan.
The team showed that acetonitrile is more common in the stratosphere than 14 N than other nitrogen molecules previously measured.
“We believe that galactic cosmic rays play an important role in the atmosphere of other objects in the solar system,” said Hideo Sagawa, associate professor at Kyoto Sango University and a member of the research team.
The process can be universal, so understanding the role of cosmic rays in titanium is very important for all planetary research.
Titan is one of the most popular places in ALMA observations. Data obtained with ALMA must be calibrated to avoid fluctuations due to time fluctuations at the location and mechanical problems.
As a reference, observational staff often aim telescopes at bright sources such as titanium during scientific observations.
Therefore, a large amount of titanium data is stored in the ALMA scientific archive. Ino and his team dug into the archives, reanalyzed data from Titan and found fine fingerprints of small amounts of CH3C15N.