Have Waves Finally Been Found on Titan’s Lakes?

We’ve known for quite some time now that lakes of liquid methane and ethane exist on the frigid surface of Saturn’s overcast moon Titan. While the sheer presence of large amounts of liquid on another world is fascinating, one thing that’s particularly intrigued scientists about these hydrocarbon lakes is their uncanny stillness — in many…

Fly Over Titan’s “Land O’Lakes”

By now you probably know about the lakes of liquid hydrocarbons on Titan. Thanks to Cassini, we know that Saturn’s largest moon is the one other place in the solar system where liquid can be found in stable amounts on the surface, except that it’s not water like we have here on Earth, but rather…

Cassini Gets Its Best Look Ever at Titan’s Polar Lakes

A combination of exceptionally clear weather, the steady approach of northern summer, and a poleward orbital path has given Cassini — and Cassini scientists — unprecedented views of countless lakes scattered across Titan’s north polar region. In the near-infrared mosaic above they can be seen as dark splotches and speckles scattered around the moon’s north…

Titan’s Misty Mountains May Have “Roots As Nobody Sees”

It’s been thought for some time that Saturn’s largest moon Titan has a complex internal structure consisting of multiple layers of ice and liquid water. At one point it was even suggested that there are water ice “cryovolcanoes” on Titan, where watery slush oozes to the surface and freezes solid in the moon’s 270-degree-below temperatures,…

Saturn and Titan Together

Here’s a particularly nice view of Saturn backlit by the Sun, captured by Cassini while on the ringed planet’s night side on August 12, 2013. Titan is visible at the upper right, its thick atmosphere scattering sunlight into a nearly-complete ring around it. The color-composite above was assembled from raw images captured in red, green,…

Titan Not Windy Enough For Waves? Cassini Will See About That.

Saturn’s largest moon Titan has often been likened to a primordial Earth, with its thick atmosphere, changing weather patterns, and — most intriguing of all — vast amounts of liquid on its surface in the form of lakes, streams, and rivers. One big difference though: nearly ten times farther from the Sun than we are,…

“Like L.A. Smog on Steroids” – Cassini Scientists Pick Apart Titan’s Haze

Scientists working with data from NASA’s Cassini mission have confirmed the presence of a population of complex hydrocarbons in the upper atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, that later evolve into the components that give the moon a distinctive orange-brown haze. The presence of these complex, ringed hydrocarbons, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), explains…

Floes of Frozen Methane May Be Floating on Titan’s Lakes

Although surface temperatures on Titan are cold enough that methane can exist as a liquid, filling lakes and flowing in streams, it may sometimes get so cold that even the liquid methane and ethane freezes, forming floes and icebergs of frozen hydrocarbons. This Titanic revelation was announced today during the 221st American Astronomical Society meeting…

A River Runs Through It (and when I say “It” I mean Saturn’s moon Titan)

No, you’re not looking down at the Amazon or the Nile (although the confusion would be understandable)… this is actually a river on an entirely different world: Saturn’s moon Titan! Radar imaging by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed what appears to be a long river system, complete with side-branching tributaries, meandering across the surface of…

Titan: Dabbling in the Occult

Back in December of 2001, Saturn’s moon Titan passed in front of two background stars (called an “occultation”) from the point of view of the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. Astronomers used the incredible resolving ability of the 5-meter telescope’s adaptive optics to watch the event, which revealed the diffraction of the stars’ light through…

Titan: Saturn’s Glow-In-The-Dark Moon

Titan just never ceases to amaze. Saturn’s largest moon, it’s wrapped in a complex, multi-layered nitrogen-and-methane atmosphere ten times thicker than Earth’s. It has seasons and weather, as evidenced by the occasional formation of large bright clouds and, more recently, an area of open-cell convection forming over its south pole. Titan even boasts the distinction…

Cassini Peeks at Titan’s Southern Vortex

A color-composite image of Titan shows Saturn’s largest moon in true color, including its recently-discovered southern vortex forming above its south pole. The image was assembled from three raw images acquired on August 28 by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in red, green and blue visible light color channels. The background was extended in size to better…