Detectability of Noble Gases in Jovian Atmospheres Utilizing Dimer Spectral Structures

S.J. Kim, Y. Min, Y. Kim, Y. Lee (Kyunghee Univ), L. Trafton (McDonald Obs), S. Miller (UCL/UK), A.R.W. McKellar (NRC/Canada)

The detection of jovian hydrogen-hydrogen dimers through the clear telluric 2-micron window (Kim et al. 1995; Trafton et al. 1997) suggests possibility to detect noble gases in the form of dimer with hydrogen in jovian atmospheres. Since noble gases do not have spectral structures in the infrared, it has been difficult to derive their abundances in the atmospheres of jovian planets. If there is a significant component of noble gases other than helium in the jovian atmospheres, it might be detected through its dimer spectrum with hydrogen molecule. The relatively sharp spectral structures of hydrogen-argon and hydrogen-neon dimers compared with those of hydrogen-hydrogen dimers are useful for the detection, if adequate S/N is obtained. However, these dimer structures should be much weaker than the nearby hydrogen-hydrogen features because noble gases are expected to be minor constituents of these atmospheres. We will discuss the detectability of these dimers based on laboratory measurements (McKellar, 1994; 1996), and current technology of infrared observations.