Remote sounding of the atmosphere of Titan
The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft will be used to probe the atmosphere and surface of Saturn's giant moon Titan. This thesis describes an investigation of the capabilities of CIRS as a remote sounding instrument. To enable infrared spectra to be computed, a radiative transfer code has been adapted for Titan's atmosphere. The atmospheric model, including gases and aerosol particles, was refined by comparison of synthetic spectra with results from the IRIS instrument of the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Characteristics of the instrument have been deduced from laboratory measurements. The size and shape of the field of view was found for the mid-infrared detectors. A Fourier code was developed to transform the raw data (interferograms). Blackbody spectra taken with the flight instrument were analysed to calculate the noise equivalent radiance for the detectors of all three focal planes. Finally, the data regarding instrument performance was used in combination with the predictive radiative transfer code to consider in detail the extent to which gaseous bands and other spectral features will be observable for a variety of limb and nadir viewing modes. Current observing strategies are reviewed and recommendations for scientific emphasis in the light of the actual instrument performance are made.