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The vertical profile of winds on Titan

The vertical profile of winds on Titan

Publication date: 08 December 2005

Authors: Bird, M. K. et al.

Journal: Nature
Volume: 438
Issue: 7069
Page: 800-802
Year: 2005

Copyright: Nature Publishing Group

One of Titan's most intriguing attributes is its copious but featureless atmosphere. The Voyager 1 fly-by and occultation in 1980 provided the first radial survey of Titan's atmospheric pressure and temperature and evidence for the presence of strong zonal winds. It was realized that the motion of an atmospheric probe could be used to study the winds, which led to the inclusion of the Doppler Wind Experiment on the Huygens probe. Here we report a high resolution vertical profile of Titan's winds, with an estimated accuracy of better than 1 m s-1. The zonal winds were prograde during most of the atmospheric descent, providing in situ confirmation of superrotation on Titan. A layer with surprisingly slow wind, where the velocity decreased to near zero, was detected at altitudes between 60 and 100 km. Generally weak winds (~1 m s-1) were seen in the lowest 5 km of descent.

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