Program: GN-2019B-Q-206

Title:Saturn after the Summer Solstice: Evolution in the northern hemisphere
PI:James Blake
Co-I(s): Leigh Fletcher, Arrate Antunano, Thomas Greathouse, Henrik Melin, James Sinclair, Mike Roman, Glenn Orton, Sandrine Guerlet


We propose high spatial- and spectral-resolution observations of Saturn’s northern summer hemisphere using the TEXES instrument at Gemini North. These will be used to track the continued seasonal evolution of Saturn's atmospheric temperatures, winds and circulation two years after the end of the Cassini mission. Gemini can provide unparalleled spatial resolution for the TEXES spectral maps, enabling us to examine the 3D temperature and wind structure associated with the continued development and growth of the seasonal north polar vortex, the propagation of the equatorial stratospheric oscillation (QPO), and the amplitude and latitudes of thermal wave activity. October 2019 will be half a Saturn year since Cassini's arrival in 2004, meaning that the proposed TEXES observations can be directly compared to conditions encountered during the same seasonal phase in the southern hemisphere to understand the asymmetries in the atmospheric response to seasonal dynamics and chemistry between the two poles.