April 23, 2021

Incredible new pictures of lakes on Saturn’s Moon Titan

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pia17470annotatedBy KELLY DICKERSON  From Business Insider


Saturn’s moon Titan. You can see one of its hyrdrocarbon lakes in the dark area near the top of the image.

The Cassini spacecraft has revealed incredible images of lakes and seas made of mostly methane on Saturn’s moon Titan, NASA announced at the American Geophysical Union meeting on Dec. 11Saturn's moon Titan 2013.

Cassini took off back in 2004 with the main goal of exploring Saturn and its moons.

Cassini’s most recent passes of Titan’s northern hemisphere have shown that one lake called the Kraken Mare is much larger than astronomers originally thought. Astronomers were even able to calculate the depth of the lake Ligeia Mare (560 feet) using radar signaling from Cassini.

The new images and radar analysis show the liquid that make up the lakes and seas of Titan is mostly methane, similar to the liquid form of natural gas on Earth. The lakes form on Titan in a similar way that lakes form on Earth through evaporation and precipitation, except Titan is cycling hydrocarbons.

NASA has altered the actual color of the images attached so that its easier to see the lakes and terrain of Titan. You can see the lakes of the northern pole of Titan:

titan-lakes-3.pngNASA- Titan Lakes

In this image you can see the lakes outlined in blue. The lakes on Titan are about the same size of the major lakes and seas on Earth like the Caspian Sea. This mosaic is the most complete view NASA has of Titan’s northern lakes. It was created using radar.

pia17655NASA – pia17655

Here you can see another color mosaic of what Cassini saw during one flyby of the surface. The lakes are labeled to make them easier to see. The images were taken in the infrared spectrum and colored to make it easier to see, the planet isn’t actually green:

pia17470annotatedNASA – pia17470annotated

“Learning about surface features like lakes and seas helps us to understand how Titan’s liquids, solids and gases interact to make it so Earth-like,” said Steve Wall, radar team lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a press release. “While these two worlds aren’t exactly the same, it shows us more and more Earth-like processes as we get new views.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uploaded an animation of the surface of Titan to YouTube but can be viewed in the business insider website story – see below for link

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Related story:

Stunning Images Of The Solar System From The Cassini Spacecraft

PHOTO: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Exactly 15 years ago, on October 15, 1997, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft lifted off from Earth and left our atmosphere.

Since that day the space probe has traveled more than 3.8 billion miles and sent back more than 300,000 images. Cassini is still going strong with plans to keep on keepin’ on until 2017.

During its travels, Cassini has swung around Venus twice, checked out Earth from space, and slipped by Jupiter on its way to Saturn, where the probe will end its trip in 2017.

See some of the 300,000 images Cassini has beamed back >

For the past eight years Cassini has been exploring Saturn, its rings, and several of its moons.

From its observations, NASA has discovered some of Saturn’s moons contain ice, organic particles, and lakes full of hydrocarbons. The probe has even sent back images of these amazing landscapes.

In November 2016, Cassini will begin a series of orbits that will get it ever closer to Saturn, and by Sept. 15, 2017, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, sending back the closest images of Saturn ever taken before the pressure and temperature of the gas giant’s atmosphere destroys the probe.

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