Saturn Seen Through Titan’s Hazy Atmosphere

Saturn Titan 3-31-05 v2-denoise-edit

Here’s a view of the upper limb of Saturn seen through the atmosphere of its largest moon Titan. It’s a color-composite of images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on March 31, 2005 as it passed just 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) from Titan. Saturn was 1.2 million kilometers (745,000 miles) away from Cassini at the time.

The lines across Saturn you can see there are the shadows of the rings on its northern hemisphere. The rings themselves are covered by Titan’s lower atmosphere.

This was assembled from the observations below, which were captured by Cassini’s wide-angle camera in red, green, blue, and clear filters. Saturn was only visible in the clear filter data so I left it colorless in the resulting composite.

At 5,150 kilometers (3,200 miles) wide Titan is by far the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest moon in the Solar System, half again as large as our Moon. It has a thick opaque atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, topped by an upper layer haze of hydrocarbons that extends ten times farther up than Earth’s atmosphere.

See this and more solar system images on my Flickr page here. 

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Cassini Imaging Team / Jason Major

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