Simultaneous Cartography of Aerosol Opacity and Surface Albedo of Titan by the Massive Inversion of the Cassini/VIMS Dataset
Abstract:Mapping Titan’s surface albedo is a necessary step to give reliable constraints on its composition. However, surface albedo maps of Titan, especially over large regions, are still very rare, the surface windows being strongly affected by atmospheric effects (absorption, scattering). A full radiative transfer model is an essential tool to remove these effects, but too time-consuming to treat systematically the ~40000 hyperspectral images VIMS acquired since the beginning of the mission.
We developed a massive inversion of VIMS data based on lookup tables computed from a state-of-the-art radiative transfer model (Hirtzig et al. 2013), updated with new aerosol properties coming from our analysis of the Emission Phase Function observation acquired recently by VIMS. Once the physical properties of gases, aerosols and surface are fixed, the lookup tables are built for the remaining free parameters: the incidence, emergence and azimuth angles, given by navigation; and two products (the aerosol opacity and the surface albedo at all wavelengths). The lookup table grid was carefully selected after thorough testing. The data inversion on these pre-computed spectra (opportunely interpolated) is more than 1000 times faster than recalling the full radiative transfer at each minimization step.
We present here the results from selected flybys. We invert mosaics composed by couples of flybys observing the same area at two different times. The composite albedo maps do not show significant discontinuities in any of the surface windows, suggesting a robust correction of the effects of the geometry (and thus the aerosols) on the observations. Maps of aerosol and albedo uncertainties are also provided, with the absolute error on the albedo being approximately between 1 and 3% (depending on the surface window considered). We are thus able to provide for the first time ever reliable surface albedo maps at pixel scale for the whole VIMS spectral range.