Titan Images 2018

The mosaic appearing in the upper part of this table reveals Saturn's largest moon Titan in different wavelengths of radiation. The three views of Titan were generated on the basis of data obtained on April 16, 2005 with the Wide Angle Camera of the Cassini probe. The images were acquired at distances ranging from about 173,000 kilometers to 168,200 kilometers or 107,500 miles to 104,500 miles from the Opaque Moon and from a Sun-Titan-probe, or phase, angle of 56 degrees. North appears in the upper part of each disk and is inclined 30 degrees to the right.
One can clearly notice that the use of different filters sensitive to visible light or infrared light can allow us to discern atmospheric features, haze layers, clouds or surface features. The cameras of the Cassini orbiter have several filters to study the atmosphere or the surface of the giant moon. The image found in the left part of the mosaic represents a natural color view combining photographs captured through three filters sensitive to red, green and violet radiation. The colors are close to the colors that our eyes would see. The Opaque Moon represents a hazy orange globe covered by a tenuous, bluish haze found in the upper atmosphere. Titan appears orange due to the haze of its atmosphere. The atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon is mainly composed of molecular nitrogen and the haze is rich in hydrocarbons.
At the time of the encounters of Titan performed by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1980 and 1981, planetologists had been frustrated by the fact that Titan's surface was completely hidden by the smog in the visible spectrum. Fortunately, the Cassini spacecraft was able to see through the haze and to identify surface features thanks to its filters sensitive to infrared wavelengths. The second view from the left in the mosaic reveals surface features and brightness variations on Titan at 938 nanometers. That wavelength which represents a near-infrared wavelength allows us to see through the smoggy atmosphere and to discern surface features. The image was generated by combining three different views acquired with the same filter, in order to improve the visibility of features on the ground. One can notice, in particular, a sharp contrast in the albedo or in the level of reflectivity between a relatively bright area and a relatively dark area. The bright areas are probably rich in water ice and the dark areas are probably rich in organics or hydrocarbons.
The view of Titan found in the right part of the mosaic represents a false-color composite composed of images acquired at different wavelengths. Two infrared views obtained at 938 and 889 nanometers and a visible light view acquired at 420 nanometers were mobilized to produce the final disk. Green corresponds to regions where the Cassini probe is able to discern surface features. Red corresponds to regions high in Titan's stratosphere where atmospheric methane is absorbing solar radiations. Blue surrounding the atmosphere, in its upper limits, corresponds to visible violet wavelengths at which the upper atmosphere and detached layers of haze can be better discerned. Another false-color view revealing the opposite hemisphere of the Orange Moon was generated from images captured during the first close flyby of the Opaque Moon in October 2004. During that particular encounter, we had been in a position to identify clouds in the area of the south polar region of the giant moon. The area was experiencing the Summer season. The observations of April 16, 2005 don't show any clear sign of cloud activity. The original views of the globes unveiled in the mosaic are presented below the mosaic in this table.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

 

The image in the upper part of this table corresponds to a raw image of Titan obtained on September 12, 2017 from the Cassini spacecraft. The file name of the image is N00289201.jpg. The view which has not been validated or calibrated was acquired using the CL1 and CB3 filters. A validated/calibrated view will be archived with the Planetary Data System of NASA. Some surface features can be discerned in the black and white image. One can notice a portion of the famous land of lakes and seas found in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, currently experiencing the Summer season. The view found in the lower part of the table corresponds to a colorized image of the raw view presented here.

Credit for the raw image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
Credit for the colorization of the raw image: Marc Lafferre, 2018.    

 

The image above reveals the second largest moon of Saturn Rhea moving in front of Titan, the largest moon of the Gas Giant. Rhea orbits closer to Saturn than Titan does. One can notice the sharp contrast in the appearance of both moons. Rhea unveils a multitude of craters and is devoid of any significant atmosphere whereas the Orange Moon is covered by a completely opaque atmosphere. The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Titan is higher than that of the Earth at sea level. The atmosphere of the Hazy Moon is mainly composed of nitrogen and it unveils a relatively significant concentration of methane.
The image represents a natural color view acquired in visible light from the Narrow-Angle Camera of the Cassini spacecraft on November 19, 2009. The photograph was obtained at a distance of about 713,300 miles or 1,148,000 kilometers from the icy moon Rhea. The crescent of Rhea and Titan brings clues upon the position of the Sun or the orientation of solar radiations in this image. The orbital inclination of Titan and Rhea is particularly low relative to the plane of Saturn's equator.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

 

The view above reveals the disk of Saturn's largest moon Titan eclipsed by the Ringed Planet Saturn. The Opaque Moon is weakly illuminated here. The camera is orientated upward toward the south polar region of the Orange Moon. The south pole appears on the terminator roughly a quarter of the way inward from the right of the visible sphere. The illuminated area observed here is found on the Saturn-facing side of the giant moon. In the shadow of the Gas Giant, the southern hemisphere of the Hazy Moon is illuminated by two sources: solar radiations scattered through the rings of the Gas Giant and refracted solar radiations going through the edge of Saturn's deep gas blanket.
The view was acquired in visible light with the Wide-Angle Camera of the Cassini spacecraft on May 7, 2009 at a distance of about 667,000 kilometers or 414,000 miles from the Opaque Moon and at a Sun-Titan-probe, or phase, angle of 58 degrees. In the background, stars appear elongated due to the relatively long camera exposure time representing 560 seconds. A relatively long exposure time was needed to reveal the faint light reflected by the disk of Titan.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

 

The view above clearly shows a portion of Titan's upper atmosphere where several blue haze layers can be discerned. The atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon is completely opaque in the visible spectrum and appears globally orange or brown. The atmosphere of the giant moon is mainly composed of nitrogen like the atmosphere of the Earth. Oxygen is absent or quasi-absent in the atmosphere of the Hazy Moon. Titan's atmosphere unveils a relatively high concentration of methane. The haze of the icy moon results, in particular, from interactions between molecules, ions or elements present in the upper part of Titan's atmosphere and ultraviolet radiations from the Sun. Complex organics or hydrocarbons falling toward the surface can be engendered in that soup of compounds or in that smog.
The image corresponds to a natural color view obtained in visible radiations from the Wide-Angle Camera of the Cassini probe on March 31, 2005. The view was acquired at a distance of about 20,556 miles or 33,083 kilometers from the Opaque Moon. The camera was orientated toward the north polar region on the night side. The north polar region where most lakes and seas are found on Titan was experiencing the Winter season. Only a small portion of Titan's illuminated crescent can be noticed on the right part of the image. The mission of the Cassini orbiter came to an end on September 15, 2017.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.  

 

Titan Images 2017
Titan Images 2016
Titan Images 2015
Titan Images 2014
Titan Images 2013
Titan Images 2012

Titan Images 2011
Titan Images 2010
Titan Images 2009
Titan Images 2008
Titan Images 2007
Titan Images 2006
Titan Images 2005, 2004

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