Discovery of carbon monoxide in the upper atmosphere of Pluto

  title={Discovery of carbon monoxide in the upper atmosphere of Pluto},
  author={Jane Greaves and Ch. Helling and Per Friberg},
  journal={Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters},
Pluto’s icy surface has changed colour and its atmosphere has swelled since its last closest approach to the Sun in 1989. The thin atmosphere is produced by evaporating ices, and so can also change rapidly, and in particular carbon monoxide should be present as an active thermostat. Here we report the discovery of gaseous CO via the 1.3-mm wavelength J=2–1 rotational transition, and find that the line-centre signal is more than twice as bright as a tentative result obtained in 2000 by Bock… Expand

Figures from this paper

Detection of CO and HCN in Pluto’s atmosphere with ALMA
Abstract Observations of the Pluto-Charon system, acquired with the ALMA interferometer on June 12–13, 2015, have led to the detection of the CO(3-2) and HCN(4-3) rotational transitions from PlutoExpand
Carbon Monoxide Affecting Planetary Atmospheric Chemistry
CO is an important component in many N2/CH4 atmospheres including Titan, Triton, and Pluto, and has also been detected in the atmosphere of a number of exoplanets. Numerous experimental simulationsExpand
Pluto’s atmospheric structure from the July 2007 stellar occultation
Abstract In July 2007, we observed a stellar occultation by Pluto from three sites in New Zealand and Australia. From these occultation observations, we find that Pluto’s atmospheric pressure isExpand
An Atmospheric General Circulation Model for Pluto with Predictions for New Horizons
Results are presented from a 3-D Pluto general circulation model that includes a subsurface model and volatile cycle. Conductive heating and cooling, non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE)Expand
A 3D general circulation model for Pluto and Triton with fixed volatile abundance and simplified surface forcing
Abstract We present a 3D general circulation model of Pluto and Triton’s atmospheres, which uses radiative–conductive–convective forcing. In both the Pluto and Triton models, an easterly (prograde)Expand
Hybrid fluid/kinetic modeling of Pluto’s escaping atmosphere
Abstract Predicting the rate of escape and thermal structure of Pluto’s upper atmosphere in preparation for the New Horizons Spacecraft encounter in 2015 is important for planning and interpretingExpand
Thermally driven escape from Pluto’s atmosphere: A combined fluid/kinetic model
Abstract A combined fluid/kinetic model is developed to calculate thermally driven escape of N 2 from Pluto’s atmosphere for two solar heating conditions: no heating above 1450 km and solar minimumExpand
Perchlorate-Coupled Carbon Monoxide (CO) Oxidation: Evidence for a Plausible Microbe-Mediated Reaction in Martian Brines
First evidence for perchlorate-coupled CO oxidation is reported based on assays with two distinct euryarchaeal extreme halophiles, indicating that CO could contribute to the survival of microbial populations in hydrated salt formations or brines if water activities are suitably permissive. Expand
Celebrating 30 years of science from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
The first images of huge discs of cool debris around nearby stars gave us clues to the evolution of planetary systems, further evidence of the importance of studying astrophysics in the submillimetre region. Expand
A meta-analysis of coordinate systems and bibliography of their use on Pluto from Charon’s discovery to the present day
Abstract This paper aims to alleviate the confusion between many different ways of defining latitude and longitude on Pluto, as well as to help prevent future Pluto papers from drawing falseExpand


The recent expansion of Pluto's atmosphere
Observations at a variety of visible and infrared wavelengths of an occultation of a star by Pluto in August 2002 reveal evidence for extinction in Pluto's atmosphere and show that it has indeed changed, having expanded rather than collapsed, since 1988. Expand
Detection of CO in Triton's atmosphere and the nature of surface-atmosphere interactions
Context. Triton possesses a thin atmosphere, primarily composed of nitrogen, sustained by the sublimation of surface ices. Aims. We aim at determining the composition of Triton’s atmosphere toExpand
Observations of the 2007 March 18 occultation of the star P445.3 (2UCAC 25823784; R = 15.3) by Pluto were obtained at high time resolution at five sites across the western United States and reducedExpand
Mirages and the Nature of Pluto's Atmosphere
Abstract We present model occultation lightcurves demonstrating that a strong thermal inversion layer at the base of Pluto's stratosphere can reproduce the minimum flux measured by the KuiperExpand
Surface Ices and the Atmospheric Composition of Pluto
Observations of the 1.4- to 2.4-micrometer spectrum of Pluto reveal absorptions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen ices and confirm the presence of solid methane. Frozen nitrogen is more abundant thanExpand
Extinction layer detected by the 2003 star occultation on Pluto
[1] A star occultation by Pluto was monitored in August 2003 by several telescopes, at several wavelengths between 0.7μm and 2.23μm. Besides information concerning pressure and temperature profiles,Expand
N2 escape rates from Pluto's atmosphere
Abstract Hydrodynamic escape of N2 molecules from Pluto's atmosphere is calculated under the assumption of a high density, slow outflow expansion driven by solar EUV heating by N2 absorption, near-IRExpand
Temperature of nitrogen ice on Pluto and its implications for flux measurements.
The profile of the 2.148-micrometers band of solid nitrogen can be used as a "thermometer" and it is determined that the temperature of the N2 ice on that body is 40 +/- 2 K and a nonisothermal flux model of the Pluto-Charon system is created. Expand
An analysis of Pluto occultation light curves using an atmospheric radiative–conductive model
Abstract We use a radiative–conductive model to least-squares fit Pluto stellar occultation light curve data. This model predicts atmospheric temperature based on surface temperature, surfaceExpand
Pluto occultations are historically rare events, having been observed in 1988, 2002, 2006, and, as Pluto moves into the crowded Galactic plane, on several occasions in 2007. Here we present sixExpand