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Comment on "An Analysis of VLF Electric Field Spectra Measured in Titan's Atmosphere by The Huygens Probe" By J. A. Morente et al.Morente et al. have recently revisited the VLF electric field measurements made with the Permittivity, Wave and Altimetry (PWA) instrument during the descent of the Huygens Probe through the atmosphere of Titan. They assert that they have identified several harmonics of the transverse resonance mode of the surface?]ionosphere cavity, which would prove the existence of an electrical activity in the atmosphere of the largest satellite of Saturn. We refute this finding on the basis that it results from an artifact due to an improper analysis of the data set. [2] The investigators of the Permittivity, Wave and Altimetry (PWA) experiment on the Huygens Probe have reported the extremely low frequency (ELF) and very low frequency (VLF) electric signals recorded during the descent through the atmosphere of Titan. The PWA data are archived in the Planetary Science Archive (PSA) of ESA, and an extensive description of the instrument is at the disposal of the scientific community. Morente and his coworkers have revisited this data set and reported the results of their investigations in two papers. In a first paper, they claim that they have detected in the ELF range (0.100 Hz) several harmonics of a global resonance allegedly generated by lightning activity in the spherical cavity guide formed by the surface of Titan and the inner boundary of the ionosphere, a phenomenon similar to the Schumann resonance observed at EartH In the second paper dedicated to the VLF electric signal recorded by PWA, in the range 0.10 kHz, they argue that they can also bring out the transverse resonance and its harmonics, a more local phenomenon that develops around the excitation source and whose frequency is controlled by the separation between Titan?fs surface and the inner ionospheric boundary. [3] The PWA investigators have analyzed the narrowband ELF signal at about 36 Hz effectively observed during the entire descent. They have not endorsed, however, the alternative approach of Morente et al. that discloses additional ELF narrow-band signals and numerous related harmonics. Hamelin et al. and Beghin et al. have questioned the work of Morente and his coworkers and demonstrated unambiguously that their findings are mere artifacts entirely due to a faulty procedure. Morente et al. refuted this critical analysis of their ELF paper in a rebuttal. The present comment draws a parallelism between the ELF and VLF papers and demonstrates that the VLF signal carries no evidence whatever of any transverse resonance. The analyses of the ELF and VLF signals by Morente and his coworkers are flawed, and their conclusions are shown here to be invalid. A more comprehensive and thorough assessment of the numerical approaches proposed by Morente et al. is given by Berthelin et al..
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Grard, Rejean (European Space Agency. European Space Research and Technology Center, ESTEC Noordwijk, Netherlands)
Berthelin, Stephanie (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Orleans, France)
Beghin, Christian (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Orleans, France)
Hamelin, Michel (Universite de Versailles Saint Quentin Saint-Maur, France)
Berthelier, Jean-Jacques (Univerite de Versailles Saint Quentin Saint-Maur, France)
Lopez-Moreno, Jose J. (Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia Granada, Spain)
Simoes, Fernando (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
May 18, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Volume: 116
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits