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Uranus deep atmosphere revealed
de Pater, Imke; Romani, Paul N.; Atreya, Sushil K.
AA(California, University, Berkeley), AB(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD), AC(Michigan, University, Ann Arbor)
Icarus (ISSN 0019-1035), vol. 82, Dec. 1989, p. 288-313. Research supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. (Icarus Homepage)
Publication Date:
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
NASA/STI Keywords:
Atmospheric Chemistry, Atmospheric Composition, Brightness Temperature, Radio Spectra, Uranus Atmosphere, Atmospheric Circulation, Atmospheric Models, Atmospheric Sounding, Methane, Mixing Height, Planetary Evolution
Bibliographic Code:


The present examination of the radio spectrum and latitudinal radio brightness temperature variation of Uranus leads to a ejection of thermochemical equilibrium models and the adoption of an atmospheric model characterized by a low ammonia volume-mixing ratio that is uniformly distributed over a wide altitude range. The elemental ratios derivable from this model support the planetary accretion theory of Pollack and Bodenheimer (1989). It is noted that while the equatorial and midlatitude values of Uranian radio brightness temperature are explainable by condensation theories, the polar value can only be accounted for through the invocation of strong, dry air downdrafts.
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