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Aerosol growth in Titan's ionosphere

Aerosol growth in Titan's ionosphere

Publication date: 19 February 2013

Authors: Lavvas, P. et al.

Journal: PNAS
Volume: 110
Issue: 8
Page: 2729-2734
Year: 2013

Copyright: National Academy of Sciences

Photochemically produced aerosols are common among the atmospheres of our solar system and beyond. Observations and models have shown that photochemical aerosols have direct consequences on atmospheric properties as well as important astrobiological ramifications, but the mechanisms involved in their formation remain unclear. Here we show that the formation of aerosols in Titan's upper atmosphere is directly related to ion processes, and we provide a complete interpretation of observed mass spectra by the Cassini instruments from small to large masses. Because all planetary atmospheres possess ionospheres, we anticipate that the mechanisms identified here will be efficient in other environments as well, modulated by the chemical complexity of each atmosphere.

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