University of St Andrews   Astrophysics Group  Physics @ St Andrews

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Discovery of Carbon Monoxide in Pluto's Atmosphere

Images accompanying press release of 20 April 2011

The preprint of this paper is available from http://arxiv.org/ from midnight on Mon April 18.

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The discovery data. The spectrum of carbon monoxide around Pluto is shaded in red. The surrounding signals are random 'noise'. The brightness of the signal (on the vertical axis) is given in units of degrees that are equivalent to a temperature of the source. This is much less than the 50 degrees above absolute zero (50 Kelvin) estimated for the atmosphere, because Pluto fills only a tiny fraction of the sky-area seen by the telescope. Credit: J.S. Greaves / Joint Astronomy Centre.

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Artist's impression of Pluto's huge atmosphere of carbon monoxide. The source of this gas is erratic evaporation from the mottled icy surface of the dwarf planet. The Sun appears at the top, as seen in the ultra-violet radiation that is thought to force some of the dramatic atmospheric changes. Pluto's largest moon, Charon, is seen to the lower right. Credit: P.A.S. Cruickshank.

 

SCIENCE CONTACTS

Dr Jane Greaves
University of St Andrews
Mob: +44 (0)7864741874
Email:
jsg5[at]st-andrews.ac.uk

Dr Ch. Helling
University of St Andrews
Tel: +43 (1) 4277 53834
Email:
ch80[at]st-andrews.ac.uk

Dr Per Friberg
Joint Astronomy Centre
Tel: +1 808 961 3756
Email:
p.friberg[at]jach.hawaii.edu

© Joe Llama 2011.