Cassini captured this intriguing glimpse into Titan’s thick haze during its latest flyby. Made up of complex hydrocarbons, formed from the breakdown of methane by solar radiation, this pale blue shroud extends hundreds of miles above the moon’s surface…ten times thicker, in fact, than our own atmosphere.
This is a raw image from the Cassini mission site. It is uncalibrated, but some density variations and wispy structures in the haze can be seen with the way the sunlight is angled through it. I would have to assume a descent through the Titan atmosphere would be rather pretty, with varying shades of blues and oranges before reaching the dim twilight realm beneath the clouds.
The Cassini team is beginning what they are calling a “marathon“, a six-month extra-busy period in which they are coordinating multiple exploration maneuvers, Titan flybys and short-period orbits. This is an exciting time for the team and for all of us anticipating more amazing images from Cassini’s cameras! Best of luck to everyone on the mission.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech