Emission from the molecular ion H+ 3 is a powerful diagnostic of the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, but it remains undetected at Neptune. In search of this emission, we present near-infrared spectral observations of Neptune between 3.93 and 4.00 μm taken with the newly commissioned iSHELL instrument on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, obtained 2017 August 17-20.We spent 15.4 h integrating across the disc of the planet, yet were unable to unambiguously identify any H3+ line emissions. Assuming a temperature of 550 K, we derive an upper limit on the column integrated density of 1.0 -0.8+1.2 × 1013 m-2, which is an improvement of 30 per cent on the best previous observational constraint. This result means that models are overestimating the density by at least a factor of 5, highlighting the need for renewed modelling efforts. A potential solution is strong vertical mixing of polyatomic neutral species from Neptune's upper stratosphere to the thermosphere, reacting with H3+, thus greatly reducing the column integrated H3+ densities. This upper limit also provide constraints on future attempts at detecting H3+ using the James Webb Space Telescope.
|Nifer y tudalennau||6|
|Cyfnodolyn||Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society|
|Dyddiad ar-lein cynnar||23 Tach 2017|
|Dynodwyr Gwrthrych Digidol (DOIs)|
|Statws||Cyhoeddwyd - 01 Maw 2018|
|Cyhoeddwyd yn allanol||Ie|