An X-ray measurement of Titan's atmospheric extent from its transit of the Crab Nebula

Koji Mori, Hiroshi Tsunemi, Haruyoshi Katayama, David N. Burrows, Gordon P. Garmire, Albert E. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Saturn's largest satellite, Titan, transited the Crab Nebula on 2003 January 5. We observed this astronomical event with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. An "occultation shadow" has clearly been detected and is found to be larger than the diameter of Titan's solid surface. The difference gives a thickness for Titan's atmosphere of 880 ± 60 km. This is the first measurement of Titan's atmospheric extent at X-ray wavelengths. The value measured is consistent with or slightly larger than those estimated from earlier Voyager observations at other wavelengths. We discuss the possibility of temporal variations in the thickness of Titan's atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1069
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume607
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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