Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 413, L5-9 (2004/1-2)
First detection of CO in Uranus.
ENCRENAZ T., LELLOUCH E., DROSSART P., FEUCHTGRUBER H., ORTON G.S. and ATREYA S.K.
Abstract (from CDS):
The spectrum of Uranus has been recorded in Oct.-Nov. 2002, between 4.6 and 5.0µm, using the ISAAC imaging spectrometer at the VLT-UT1 (ANTU) 8-m telescope of ESO. The spectral resolving power was 1500. In addition to a few strong H3+ emission lines, the spectrum of Uranus distinctly shows the emission lines of the CO(1-0) band from R7 to P8. The relative intensity distribution of the observed CO emission is not compatible with a thermal distribution, for any value of the rotational temperature. The most likely emission mechanism is fluorescence, and a good fit is obtained assuming a constant CO mixing ratio of 3x10–8 at the tropopause and above. The tropospheric continuum of Uranus is also detected beween 4.7 and 5.0µm. The observed continuum can be fitted assuming reflected sunlight above a cloud level at 3.1bars, presumably attributed to H2S. Upper limits of 2x10–8 and 1x10–6 are inferred for the CO and PH3 tropospheric mixing ratios above this level. The low CO tropospheric upper limit might suggest that the CO vertical distribution is not uniform.
planets and satellites: Uranus - infrared: solar system