A Setting Titan

Titan seems to sink into Saturn’s atmosphere. Click to play.

A series of 13 raw images from Cassini, taken October 18, 2010, has been looped together to create this animation showing Titan “setting” behind the nighttime limb of Saturn. Check out the refraction along Saturn’s atmosphere! Very cool. (The images are oriented so the ringplane – seen at left – is running vertically.)

This is the view an observer might have if they were “standing” on Saturn.

The frames have been level-adjusted to create an even black background, but some detail was lost in the process…and there are still quite a few sensor specks and cosmic ray hits because I didn’t clean those up.

Images: NASA / JPL / SSI. Animation by J. Major.


  1. Ian O'Neill says:

    This is awesome, love it! One question though, what’s the time frame for the entire animation?




    1. J. Major says:

      Hm, not sure. The raw image pages only note the date of the image acquisition, not the time. I suppose someone with more math skills than I have (which is pretty much anyone) could figure it out taking into consideration Titan’s period of orbit around Saturn (15.945 days = 382.68 hours = 22,960.8 minutes etc.), its distance from Saturn (759,220 miles) and size (3200 miles) and figure out how long it would take for a scene like this to occur. Me, I just look at the pretty pictures. 🙂


      1. Gordan says:

        Cassini’s ISS cameras typically need something like 45 sec – 1 minute before the next full frame (i.e. not 2×2 summed) image can be exposed so I’d guess that’s about the rough time elapsed between each frame.


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