Surprise! Pluto May have Clouds

We could be calling it Cloudgate—”leaked” information from internal emails identifying structures in Pluto’s already hazy atmosphere that could very well be clouds, based on a March 4 article in New Scientist. The image above shows sections of a New Horizons image attached to an email sent by SwRI scientist John Spencer, in which he noted particularly…

These New Pictures of Pluto Are Almost Impossibly Awesome

Hold on to your seats, hats, socks, etc… these newly-received and -released images of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft are, in a word, icantbelievewhatimseeingisreal! But they are real, and that’s what’s so great! Obviously you’re already looking at one of them above: it’s a view of Pluto captured after New Horizons had already made its closest…

Just Another Hazy Day on Titan

The weather forecast for Titan? Cloudy, hazy, and cold — just like every other day! The image here is a color-composite made from raw data captured by Cassini during a flyby on April 7, 2014, and it shows a look at the two main features of Titan’s atmosphere: a thick orange “smog” made of organic…

“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…

Titan’s High-Level Haze

Composite RGB spectral data image from Cassini’s latest flyby of Titan, September 24, 2010. Not much image adjustment needed, this was basically “out of the box”! I love the coloration in the different atmospheric layers. Original raw image can be seen here. Image: NASA/JPL/SSI. Edited by J. Major. Flickr – Photo Sharing!

A Clouded Giant

Image data are now coming in from today’s flyby of Titan, the image above is a rotated color-composite made from three raw images taken with Cassini’s red, green and blue visible light color filters. (I think I got the north-south alignment right…) Titan’s high-level hydrocarbon haze is visible, a pale blue and violet band encircling…

A Hazy Shade of Titan

Cassini looks down onto Titan’s north pole, its camera revealing the high-level atmospheric haze that encircles the 3,200-mile-wide moon. This image was shot in visible violet light on March 27, 2009, using Cassini’s wide-angle camera. The spacecraft was 122,000 miles away from Titan at the time. The sunlit part of Titan is the side that…