The recently formed south polar vortex stands out in the color-swaddled atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in this natural color view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. [Full Story]
This night-side photo of Titan taken by the Cassini spacecraft shows a buildup of haze over the Saturn moon's south pole (bottom). Cassini has found a build up of haze over the south pole (bottom). New results from Cassini's infrared spectrometer show that air is now sinking at the south pole, leading to increased temperatures at high altitude and a large enrichment in trace gases. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
This day-side photo of Titan taken by the Cassini spacecraft shows a buildup of haze over the Saturn moon's south pole (bottom). Cassini has found a build up of haze over the south pole (bottom). New results from Cassini's infrared spectrometer show that air is now sinking at the south pole, leading to increased temperatures at high altitude and a large enrichment in trace gases. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, appears deceptively small paired here with Dione, Saturn's third-largest moon, in this shot snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 6, 2011. Titan is much farther from the spacecraft than Dione is in this view. The view was captured at a distance of approximately 684,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Titan but only about 85,000 miles (136,000 km) from Dione.
This view shows a close up of toward the south polar region of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and show a depression within the moon's orange and blue haze layers near the south pole. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft snapped the image on Sept. 11, 2011 and it was released on Dec. 22.
The colorful globe of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, passes in front of the planet and its rings in this true color snapshot from NASA's Cassini spacecraft taken on May 21, 2011 and released on Dec. 22.
This wide-angle view of Titan shows Saturn’s largest moon as it appeared on Sept. 11, 2011 to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which snapped the photo from a distance of about 83,000 miles. This image was released on Dec. 22.
Saturn's moon Tethys, with its stark white icy surface, peeps out from behind the larger, hazy, colorful Titan in this Cassini view of the two moons. Saturn's rings lie between the two. NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped this photo on May 21, 2011 and it was released on Dec. 22.
Saturn's third-largest moon Dione can be seen through the haze of its largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft released on Dec. 22, 2011. The north polar hood can be seen on Titan appearing as a detached layer at the top of the moon here.
The atmosphere of Titan can be seen on the Saturn moon's limb in this stunning view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
This composite image shows the cloud, imaged at a distance of 90,000 kilometers (54,000 miles) during a Titan flyby designed to observe the limb of the moon. The cloud extends down to 60 degrees north latitude.
A global detached haze layer and discrete cloud-like features high above Titan's northern terminator (day-night transition) are visible in this close-up image acquired on October 24, 2004, as the Cassini spacecraft neared its first close encounter with Titan. This image is a colorized version of an ultraviolet image.
A new picture of Titan by the Cassini spacecraft reveals a bright region in the middle named Xanadu. Scientists don't know what it is.
Surface features of Titan come through in this false-color infrared image. The inset picture shows the landing site of Cassini's piggybacked Huygens probe.
Titan as Orange Globe: Titan as we might see it with our eyes from the Cassini UV camera (colorized).
This first panorama of Titan released by ESA shows a full 360-degree view around the Huygens probe. The left-hand side shows a boundary between light and dark areas. The white streaks seen near this boundary could be ground 'fog', as they were not immediately visible from higher altitudes. Huygens drifted over a plateau (centre of image) and was heading towards its landing site in a dark area (right) during descent.
This mosaic of three frames taken by Huygens provides unprecedented detail of a high ridge area on Titan's surface, including the flow down into a major river channel from different sources.
A false-color infrared mosaic of Titan show features not visible to the eye: atmosphere (red); surface (green and blue). The inset shows an a prominent circular feature thought to be a volcano with flows extending westward. Image
This view of Titan's south polar region reveals an intriguing dark feature that may be the site of a past or present lake of liquid hydrocarbons.
False color image of Saturn's moon Titan.
Radar image of Titan showing that the boundary of the bright (rough) region and the dark (smooth) region appears to be a shoreline. The image is 175 kilometers high and 330 kilometers wide (109 miles by 205 miles), and is located at 66 degrees south latitude, 356 degrees west longitude in the southern hemisphere of Titan. Image
Images from the DISR Side-Looking Imager and from the Medium Resolution Imager, acquired after landing. The horizon’s position implies a pitch of the DISR, nose-upward, by 1-2° with no measurable roll. ‘Stones’ in the foreground are 10-15 cm in size, presumably made of water ice, and these lie on a darker, finer-grained substrate. The scene evokes the possibility of a dry lakebed. Credits: ESA/NASA/University of Arizona
These false-colour images of Titan were obtained by the Cassini-Huygens Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer during the 26 October/13 December Titan fly-bys In contrast to the reddish surface, bright clouds residing above most of the atmospheric absorption appear whitish in these representations.
Image of the Belet sand sea at about 12 degrees South and 100 degrees West on Titan.
Observations of the northern seas of Titan by Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, or VIMS, (left and center) and by RADAR (right).
This image is part of a four-minute and 40-second video based on data from Europe's Huygen's probe, which landed on Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005.
A network of river channels is located atop Xanadu, the continent-sized region on Saturn's moon Titan. This radar image was captured by the Cassini Radar Mapper on April 30, 2006.
The haze of Titan's atmosphere stands out in this image taken by the Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn.
The Cassini spacecraft, using its radar system, has discovered very strong evidence for hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. Dark patches, which resemble terrestrial lakes, seem to be sprinkled all over the high latitudes surrounding Titan's north pole. Image
This radar image of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan was acquired on October 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 994 miles (1,600 kms) above the surface. Brighter areas may correspond to rougher terrains and darker areas are thought to be smoother. This image highlights some of the darker terrain, which the Cassini team dubbed "Si-Si the Cat." This nickname was chosen after a team member's daughter, Si-Si, pointed out that the dark terrain has a cat-like appearance. Image
A false-color image of Titan's surface snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on July 22, 2006. The lakes appear darker than the surrounding terrain because of the unique way they scatter radar, which is similar to how water lakes on Earth do it.
Saturn's rings are wide but very thin. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the rings edge-on in 1995.
This side-by-side image shows a Cassini radar image (on the left) of what is the largest body of liquid ever found on Titan's north pole, compared to Lake Superior (on the right). This close-up is part of a larger image and offers strong evidence for seas on Titan. These seas are most likely liquid methane and ethane.
The huge impact crater Menrva was spotted by the Cassini radar instrument on 15 February 2005 on Titan and has an outer diameter of 440 kilometers. It resembles a large crater or part of a ringed basin, either of which could be formed when a comet or asteroid tens of kilometres in size crashed into Titan.
Composite view of Titan built with Cassini images taken on Oct. 9 and Oct. 25, 2006.
Artist's impression of the descent and landing sequence followed by the Huygens probe to Titan.
Near-infrared images of Titan's surface and lower troposphere can be subtracted to reveal widespread cirrus-like clouds of frozen methane (lower images) and a large patch of liquid methane (dark area within box) interpreted as clouds and morning drizzle above the huge continent of Xanadu (outline). At left is a chart of Titan's aerosol haze versus altitude.
An artist's imagination of hydrocarbon pools, icy and rocky terrain on the surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan.
This image shows bodies of liquid near Titan's north pole. It show that many of the features commonly associated with lakes on Earth, such as islands, bays, inlets and channels, are also present on this cold Saturnian moon.
A composite of several Cassini images shows Titan's varied surface, including possibly a remnant of an old impact basin (large circular feature near the center of Titan's disk). Mountain ranges to the southeast of the circular feature, and the dark linear feature to the northwest of the circular impact scar may be evidence of past tectonic activity.
The most detailed image ever made of Saturn and its rings was sent by the Cassini spacecraft on October 6, 2004.
Cassini images of Titan's south polar region taken in 2005 (right top and bottom) show dark areas that were not present in the 2004 images (left top and bottom) represent lakes. During the year that elapsed between the images, clouds (bright features) frequently appeared and suggest methane rain could be responsible for the new lake features.
In this view, the giant orange moon Titan casts a large shadow onto Saturn's north polar hood. Below Titan, near the ring plane and to the left is the moon Mimas, casting a much smaller shadow onto Saturn's equatorial cloud tops. Farther to the left, and off Saturn's disk, are the bright moon Dione and the fainter moon Enceladus.
Clouds linger unexpectedly on Saturn's Moon Titan.
This mosaic of image swaths from Cassini's Titan Radar Mapper features a large dark region that has many characteristics in common with lakes, including its channels and interior, yet its differences distinguish it from other similar features. At the top (north), the feature has characteristics of a shoreline, with round bay-like margins and channels that drain into it; at left (west) and right (east) it is rimmed by bright, feathery, branching channel-like structures.
Gemini North infrared image of Saturn and Titan (at about 6 o'clock position), obtained on May 7, 2009.
This image was taken on June 07, 2010 and received on Earth June 07, 2010. The camera was pointing toward Titan at approximately 1,110,349 kilometers (690,000 miles) away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CB3 filters. This image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2011.
An artist concept of proposed mission to the Saturn system, the Titan Saturn System Mission, which includes a mothership, lake lander and a balloon probe.
A possible view of the Titan surface with a methane sea. There's still a lot of guessing whether Titan has a lake or lakes which contain liquid fluids like methane or hydrocarbon. If they exist they will not be larger than a few kilometers as the first detailed photographs of the Cassini show us (fall/winter 2005). Terrain made with Cassini radar data. (made with the grey scale map I made from the 'shoreline' Titan radar map).
This image, obtained using Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), shows the first observed flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Saturn's moon Titan.
This feature on Titan is at least 100,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles), which is greater in extent than Lake Superior (82,000 square kilometers or 32,000 square miles), which is one of Earth’s largest lakes.
The irregular black shapes in this Cassini radar image of Titan's northern polar region are believed to be liquid methane-ethane lakes.
This artist's illustration shows the likely slushy interior structure of Saturn's moon Titan deduced from gravity field data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Full Story.
Scientists have used data from the Cassini radar mapper to map the global wind pattern on Saturn's moon Titan using data collected over a four-year period, as depicted in this image.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011: This topographic image shows an area of Saturn's moon Titan, known as Sotra Facula, which may harbor an ice volcano (cryovolcano). Finger-like flows suggest the presence of cryovolcanism. NASA's Cassini spacecraft collected data for this false-color image in which heights are exaggerated by a factor of 10.
The blurring effects of Titan's aerosol are obvious in this image, where the orange moon peeks from behind two of Saturn's rings. Small, battered Epimetheus, another of Saturn's 62 moons, appears just above the rings.
Titan's northern half, where it's early spring, appears slightly darker than the southern half, where it's early fall, in this image taken on March 22, 2010. Like Earth, Titan has four distinct seasons, each of which lasts about seven of Earth's years.
Titan emerges from behind Saturn while Tethys streaks into view in this colorful scene on March 24, 2008. Titan is 5,150 kilometers (3,200 miles) wide; Tethys is 1,071 kilometers (665 miles) wide. Saturn's shadow darkens the far arm of the rings near the planet's limb.
Abundant evidence for flowing liquids is seen in this view of Saturn’s moon Titan, from sinuous, wide river channels to shorter, more chaotic drainage patterns. This radar view of Titan's south pole was taken on Dec. 20, 2007.
Swathed in its thick blanket of atmosphere, frigid Titan approaches the brilliant limb of Saturn on March 14, 2008.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft chronicled the change of seasons as it captured clouds concentrated near the equator of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, on Oct. 18, 2010.
Cloudy with rain. Simplified global atmospheric circulation and precipitation pattern on Titan and Earth. Most precipitation occurs at the intertropical convergence zone, or ITCZ, where air ascends as a result of convergence of surface winds from the northern and southern directions. Titan’s ITCZ was previously near the south pole (A) but is currently on its way to the north pole (B). The seasonal migration of the ITCZ on Earth is much smaller (C and D). This image appears in a Perspective by Tetsuya Tokano titled, "Precipitation Climatology on Titan."
Surface features observed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft at the Xanadu region on Saturn's moon Titan (left), and features observed by NASA's Galileo probe on Jupiter's moon Callisto (right). Scientists think the Titan features are eroded impact craters rather than signs of volcanic activity.
A partial view of Titan's Ontariou Lacus (right image) from 680 miles away, or 1,100 km away, shows what appears to be a beach in the lower right of the image, below the bright lake shoreline. An image was also taken of the lake feature in June 2005 (left image).
NASA's Cassini spacecraft peers through the murk of Titan's thick atmosphere in this view, taken with Cassini's narrow-angle camera on Sept. 25, 2008.
The Huygens probe took this photo from the surface of Titan. The image has been colored and processed to give a good indication of the actual orangeish color of the surface.
This false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Titan in ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths.
Global mosaic of Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) images acquired during the nominal and equinox Cassini mission. Differences in composition translate into subtle differences of colors in this mosaic, revealing the diversity of terrains on Titan, such as the brownish equatorial dune fields or the bright, elevated terrains.
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus hangs below the gas giant’s rings while Titan lurks in the background, in this new image taken by the Cassini spacecraft on March 12, 2012.
In a laboratory experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., scientists simulating the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan have brewed up complex organic molecules that they think could eventually lead to the building blocks of life. In this picture, molecules of dicyanoacetylene are seen on a special film on a sapphire window. They are the result of exposing simple organic molecules known to exist at Titan with sun-like radiation on Aug. 4, 2010. Image released April 2, 2013.