Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Thermal Emission from the SL9 Stratospheric Debris Fields

T.A. Livengood (U of MD and NASA/GSFC), T. Kostiuk (NASA/GSFC), H.U. Käufl (ESO Garching)

Absolutely-calibrated images of Jupiter at 8-13  tex2html_wrap_inline11 m from July-August 1994 provide spectrophotometric information on thermal emission of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 debris fields in Jupiter's stratosphere. The morphology of the sites is consistent with the majority of emission arising from the ejecta blanket, rather than the small dense core at the point of impact identified in visual imaging with the HST. Brightness temperatures of the impact sites provide information on the local kinetic temperature of the gas in which the debris were embedded, provided a value is assumed for the emissivity. The time for the stratosphere to recover to its essentially unperturbed temperature profile can be estimated from the data. A comparison of assumed emissivity with kinetic temperature can be constructed which can then be referenced to a standard temperature-pressure profile to estimate the pressure region in which the debris reside after the "cooling-off" period. An independent estimate of the debris altitude will help to constrain the altitude range probed by high resolution visual studies of debris transport. Observational data for this study were collected at the European Southern Observatory 3.6m telescope using the TIMMI facility camera.