Molecules in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn

Molecules in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn

Fig. 3.5 . The infrared radiation from the thin, cold upper atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn exhibit numerous features that have no counterpart in the spectrum of sunlight. Strong features are seen in Jupiter for molecular hydrogen, H2, ammonia, NH3, methane, CH4, and water vapor, H2O. Saturnís outer atmosphere is also abundant in hydrogen and methane, but the ammonia features are missing and those of acetylene, C2H2, and ethane, C2H6, are enhanced. These spectra were taken with instruments aboard Voyager 1 and 2 during their Jupiter and Saturn flybys in 1979 and 1980, respectively. (Courtesy of Rudolf A. Hanel.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University