ATMOSPHERIC INFERENCES FROM PLANETARY LIMB DARKENING.
Final rept. 17 Dec 65-30 Apr 67,
GCA CORP BEDFORD MASS GCA TECHNOLOGY DIV
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The theory of planetary limb darkening is developed using a parabolic limb approximation to account for the curvature of the atmosphere. The inapplicability of the plane parallel model for structural inferences from planetary limb observations is demonstrated. Closed form expressions are obtained for the optical depth, weighting function, and other radiance parameters appropriate to the problem. The peaked character of the weighting function resulting from the curved geometry makes possible, as a first approximation, a direct point-to-point inversion of the radiance profile to obtain the temperature structure. The theory is applied to the Venus limb observations of Westphal 1966 and the inferences and limitations of the data are discussed. Finally, the similarity of the radiance equation to Abels integral leads to the expectation that the full-blown inversion problem is amenable to solution. Author