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ERIC Number: EJ1000678
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Probing Clouds in Planets with a Simple Radiative Transfer Model: The Jupiter Case
Mendikoa, Inigo; Perez-Hoyos, Santiago; Sanchez-Lavega, Agustin
European Journal of Physics, v33 n6 p1611-1624 Nov 2012
Remote sensing of planets evokes using expensive on-orbit satellites and gathering complex data from space. However, the basic properties of clouds in planetary atmospheres can be successfully estimated with small telescopes even from an urban environment using currently available and affordable technology. This makes the process accessible for undergraduate students while preserving most of the physics and mathematics involved. This paper presents the methodology for carrying out a photometric study of planetary atmospheres, focused on the planet Jupiter. The method introduces the basics of radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, some notions on inverse problem theory and the fundamentals of planetary photometry. As will be shown, the procedure allows the student to derive the spectral reflectivity and top altitude of clouds from observations at different wavelengths by applying a simple but enlightening "reflective layer model". In this way, the planet's atmospheric structure is estimated by students as an inverse problem from the observed photometry. Web resources are also provided to help those unable to obtain telescopic observations of the planets. (Contains 2 tables, 8 figures and 8 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A