Evidence that Pluto's atmosphere does not collapse from occultations including the 2013 May 04 event

C. B. Olkin, L. A. Young, D. Borncamp, A. Pickles, B. Sicardy, M. Assafin, F. B. Bianco, M. W. Buie, A. Dias-Oliveira, M. Gillon, R. G. French, A. Ramos Gomes, E. Jehin, N. Morales, C. Opitom, J. L. Ortiz, A. Maury, M. Norbury, F. Braga-Ribas, R. SmithL. H. Wasserman, E. F. Young, M. Zacharias, N. Zacharias

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Abstract

Combining stellar occultation observations probing Pluto's atmosphere from 1988 to 2013, and models of energy balance between Pluto's surface and atmosphere, we find the preferred models are consistent with Pluto retaining a collisional atmosphere throughout its 248-year orbit. The occultation results show an increasing atmospheric pressure with time in the current epoch, a trend present only in models with a high thermal inertia and a permanent N2ice cap at Pluto's north rotational pole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-225
Number of pages6
JournalIcarus
Volume246
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atmospheres, evolution
  • Occultations
  • Pluto, atmosphere
  • Pluto, surface

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