Storm on Saturn’s Largest Moon
14 September 2012



Fig. 1
Storm in Titan, Saturn’s largest moon
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 
NASA recently published an interesting image of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, showing a vortex, a polar storm, swirling in the Titan’s south polar region. The image was acquired by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft.

The vortex is visible at image bottom. A hood-like haze hangs over Titan’s north polar region (at image top).

Titan (5,150 km across) is the second largest moon in the Solar System. It is the only satellite possessing a substantial atmosphere, which obscures Titan’s surface, due to the presence of thick haze and clouds. Like our Moon (3,476 km across), Titan keeps the same side turned to Saturn. It orbits Saturn at an average distance of about 1.22 million km, and lasts approximately 16 days to orbit its planet once. The Cassini spacecraft was looking on the Saturn-facing side of Titan.

Fig. 1 was taken in visual blue light, applying Cassini’s narrow-angle camera, on 18 July 2012. It was magnified to enhance the visibility of details. Cassini was at a distance of approximately 3 million km from Titan.

References:
NASA’s Planetary Photojournal

Further Reading:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14919
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14920

 
Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem
Senior Astronomy Specialist
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