The Mysterious Titan: Moon's Seasonal Changes

 At first glance, Titan has little in common with Earth. The largest moon of Saturn, temperatures on Titan's surface dip nearly 300 F below zero, its seas slosh with liquid methane, and its sky is a murky shade of creamsicle.

And yet, fresh analysis of mysterious features spotted on the moon indicates that it experiences one of the same global processes that is important here on Earth.

In a study published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience, scientists operating the Cassini satellite, including Stanford's Howard Zebker, present evidence that Titan has seasonal cycles analogous to Earth's, and that the moon's surface conditions change as the Titan year unfolds.

During five fly-bys of Titan's Ligeia Mare -- a liquid methane sea larger than Lake Superior -- the scientists noticed bright features that appeared and changed shape on the sea's surface. After ruling out a technical glitch or an exotic artifact of radar scattering, the group focused on three causes most likely for the phenomena.

No comments :

Post a Comment