Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) Observations of Titan 2004-2017


From 2004 to 2017, the Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn, completing 127 close flybys of its largest moon, Titan. Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), one of 12 instruments carried on board, profiled Titan in the thermal infrared (7–1000 μm) throughout the entire 13 yr mission. CIRS observed on both targeted encounters (flybys) and more distant opportunities, collecting 8.4 million spectra from 837 individual Titan observations over 3633 hr. Observations of multiple types were made throughout the mission, building up a vast mosaic picture of Titan’s atmospheric state across spatial and temporal domains. This paper provides a guide to these observations, describing each type and chronicling its occurrences and global-seasonal coverage. The purpose is to provide a resource for future users of the CIRS data set, as well as those seeking to put existing CIRS publications into the overall context of the mission, and to facilitate future intercomparison of CIRS results with those of other Cassini instruments and ground-based observations.

The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series