The Ring

titan_silhouette

No, it’s not the final frame of a haunted videotape…it’s a backlit Titan, silhouetted against the sun, photographed by Cassini from over 850,000 miles away.

Titan’s upper-level atmospheric haze is illuminated in this image, surrounding the moon high above the cloudtops. The haze is a mixture of complex hydrocarbons created by the breakdown of methane in the moon’s thick atmosphere by the sun’s UV rays.

Titan resembles a miniature, frigid version of an early Earth. With a surface air pressure slightly higher than ours, and an atmosphere ten times as thick, it has its own version of weather and volcanism except with liquid methane as its water and ice playing the role of lava and rock.

300 degrees below zero will have that effect on a place.

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Raw image: NASA/JPL/SSI