Publications by Patrick Irwin

Neptune’s HCl upper limit from Herschel/HIFI

Icarus Elsevier 354 (2020) 114045

N Teanby, B Gould, PGJ Irwin

Here we search for hydrogen chloride (HCl) in Neptune’s stratosphere using observations of the 1876.22 GHz J=3–2 transition from the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) on Herschel. Observations comprise a 7.2 hr disc-averaged integration, originally designed to investigate stratospheric methane. Significant HCl emission was not detected. Instead, we determine upper limits using step-type abundance profiles, defined by zero deep abundance and uniform volume mixing ratio for pressures less than a transition pressure (assumed to be 0.1 or 1 mbar). These profiles are a reasonable first-order approximation for an externally sourced species; at higher pressures HCl is expected to be removed by aerosol scavenging and reactions with ammonia. The 3 upper limits are 0.70 parts per billion (ppb) for a 0.1 mbar transition pressure and 0.076 ppb for a 1 mbar transition pressure. These upper limits are the most stringent to date and are consistent with current estimates of interplanetary dust particle flux and the hypothesis that Neptune experienced a large comet impact in the past 1000 years.

Show full publication list