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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the atmospheres of Titan and Jupiter
Sagan, Carl; Khare, B. N.; Thompson, W. R.; McDonald, G. D.; Wing, Michael R.; Bada, Jeffrey L.; Vo-Dinh, Tuan; Arakawa, E. T.
AA(Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY), AB(Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY), AC(Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY), AD(Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY), AE(Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA), AF(Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA), AG(Oak Ridge National Lab., TN), AH(Oak Ridge National Lab., TN)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 414, no. 1, p. 399-405. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
NASA/STI Keywords:
Aromatic Compounds, Cyclic Hydrocarbons, Jupiter Atmosphere, Satellite Atmospheres, Titan, Abundance, Carbonaceous Chondrites, Interstellar Matter
Bibliographic Code:


PAHs are important components of the interstellar medium and carbonaceous chondrites, but have never been identified in the reducing atmospheres of the outer solar system. Incompletely characterized complex organic solids (tholins) produced by irradiating simulated Titan atmospheres reproduce well the observed UV/visible/IR optical constants of the Titan stratospheric haze. Titan tholin and a tholin generated in a crude simulation of the atmosphere of Jupiter are examined by two-step laser desorption/multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry. A range of two- to four-ring PAHs, some with one to four alkylation sites, are identified, with a net abundance of about 0.0001 g/g (grams per gram) of tholins produced. Synchronous fluorescence techniques confirm this detection. Titan tholins have proportionately more one- and two-ring PAHs than do Jupiter tholins, which in turn have more four-ring and larger PAHs. The four-ringed PAH chrysene, prominent in some discussions of interstellar grains, is found in Jupiter tholins.

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