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Discoveries pertaining to Saturn's moon Titan
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Soulthriller
post Nov 19 2006, 03:29 PM
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The highlands of Titan may be riddled with caves, according to the latest images of Saturn's giant moon. On 30 April, the Cassini spacecraft flew over a large bright region called Xanadu that spans about 4000 kilometres. Xanadu was already thought to be a highland area, where bright hills of ice poke up above Titan's dark sooty plains. A new picture made with the spacecraft's haze-penetrating radar confirms this.In fact, the interior of the region is crossed by mountain chains that rise more than a kilometre high – while most of the moon appears relatively flat. "These are the highest mountains measured on Titan so far," says radar team member Ralph Lorenz of the University of Arizona in Tucson, US. But it seems that the mountains are not solid. The radio waves bouncing off Xanadu reveal that it has peculiar electrical properties – specifically a low dielectric constant. "The only reasonable material makeup that could have a very low dielectric constant and still hold together enough to form the structures that we see would be some sort of porous stuff – most likely porous water ice," says another team member, Steve Wall of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US.

He suggests the region might be filled with caverns, presumably carved out by the methane rain that is thought to fall on Titan.That rain would also have created the long river valleys that meander among the hills nearer the fringes of Xanadu. Cassini scientists speculate that these rivers could carry ice grains down to the plains to form the dunes seen on much of Titan's surface.

View: Full Article | Source: New Scientist Space


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Soulthriller
post Dec 15 2006, 11:13 PM
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Mountain range spotted on Titan


"One could call them Titan's Sierras," the University of Arizona-Tucson researcher added. The mountains lie south of the equator. Scientists told the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting that the range was probably as hard as rock, but made of icy materials.

The mountains appear to be coated with layers of organic, or carbon-rich, material. This could be methane "snow".

Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6174501.stm


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Soulthriller
post Jan 5 2007, 10:16 PM
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'Proof' of methane lakes on Titan



The Cassini probe has spotted what scientists say is unequivocal evidence of lakes of liquid methane on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Radar images reveal dark, smooth patches that range in size from three to 70km across (two to 44 miles).

The team says the features, which were spied in the moon's far north, look like crater or caldera lakes on Earth. The researchers tell the journal Nature that everything about the patches points to them being pools of liquid.

"They look very similar to lakes on Earth," explained Dr Ellen Stofan, a Cassini radar team member from Proxemy Research in Washington DC, US. "They have channels feeding into them just like you have rivers feeding into lakes on the Earth. Their shapes, their shore-lines, all of those geologic aspects are actually very familiar."


Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6230381.stm


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Soulthriller
post Feb 4 2007, 10:10 AM
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Mammoth cloud engulfs Titan's north pole



A mammoth cloud half the size of the contiguous United States and spotted on Saturn’s moon Titan might be what’s filling up lakes discovered there last year, scientists say.

“This cloud system may be a key element in the global formation of organics and their interactions with the surface,” said study team member Christophe Sotin of the University of Nantes, France.

Imaged by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 29, 2006, the cloud is about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in diameter and engulfs Titan’s entire north pole. It only recently became visible, emerging from a shadow as winter turns to spring on the moon. Unlike Earth’s clouds, which contain mostly water vapor, the Titan clouds are thought to consist of ethane, methane and other organics.

Scientists had predicted the existence of such a cloud system, but one had never been imaged in such detail before.

Cassini spotted partially filled lakes on Titan’s north pole last summer. Scientists speculated that methane rains down onto the moon’s surface to form lakes and then evaporates to form clouds, in what they called the “methane-ologic cycle.” The new finding supports this idea.

Ground-based observations show the Titan cloud system comes and goes with the seasons. A season on the Saturn moon is equivalent to about seven Earth years. Scientists speculate such cloud activity can last for as long as 25 Earth years before nearly vanishing for four to five years and then reappearing for another 25 years.

The same cloud system observed last December was still there two weeks later during a Jan. 13, 2007, flyby. Scientists expect the newly spotted cloud to linger for several years, possibly shifting down to Titan’s south pole as the seasons change.

“With 16 more flybys to come this year," said study team member Stephane Le Mouelic, also of the University of Nantes, "we should have the opportunity to monitor the evolution of this cloud system over time.”


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16945940/


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Dreaming
post Feb 4 2007, 11:26 AM
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nice news.

This post has been edited by Dreaming: Feb 4 2007, 11:26 AM


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Mextli
post Feb 4 2007, 12:01 PM
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Bad ass!!!


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Soulthriller
post Feb 22 2007, 09:52 AM
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What is really significant about Titan is that it is one of the only, if not the only, moons in our solar system with such intense cloud cover. Reminds you of a planet that got cought in a bigger planet's orbit and helplessly orbits it now.


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Dreaming
post Feb 23 2007, 12:23 AM
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YEs, fascinating. I wish we could had a great contact with another race.
It would shock ppl and everybody would be mind-blowed!


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Mextli
post Feb 23 2007, 03:04 PM
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The Cassini spacecraft may have spied another crater on Saturn's moon Titan, whose surface is mysteriously unblemished by the impact scars.

So far, only three features have been unambiguously identified as craters on Titan, while about a dozen others are considered candidates. The dearth of craters is puzzling, since scientists had expected that meteroid impacts would have created hundreds that would still be visible today.

They suspect slushy volcanoes, as well as hydrocarbon rain and soot, may be depositing new material on the moon's surface. This would cover up existing craters (see Images help solve mystery of Titan's missing craters).

Now, radar images taken by the Cassini spacecraft during a flyby of the moon on 13 January show the northern half of what might be a large crater.

The 180-kilometre-wide semicircular structure has some crater-like features, such as a rim and a possible peak in its centre. Smooth deposits may have covered the inside of the crater, giving it a dark appearance in the radar images, while the 'ejecta blanket' thrown up during the impact may explain the bright ring around the crater itself.

Volcanic caldera?
However, other aspects of it are more puzzling. Some dark features near the northeast side of the rim – which may have been created by a liquid – appear to be concentric with the rim. That is unusual, because if liquid fills up inside a crater and breaches its rim, it usually creates a radial, spoke-like feature.

If it is not a crater, the suspiciously circular feature could be a volcanic caldera, a depression created when lava drains away and a volcano collapses, says Stephen Wall, deputy team leader for Cassini's radar.

If it is a crater, the degradation of its rim suggests it might be old, though just how old is not clear, says Wall.

To date, Cassini, a joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, has made 13 passes of Titan to collect data with its synthetic aperture radar. So far, only about 13% of the surface has been mapped with this radar.




http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11...d-on-titan.html

This post has been edited by Mextli: Feb 23 2007, 03:07 PM


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Mextli
post Feb 28 2007, 02:28 PM
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A lake the size of the Caspian Sea may have been spotted on Saturn's frigid moon, Titan. If it is indeed filled with liquid, the 1100-kilometre-long lake would be the largest yet found on the moon.

The dark feature appears in an image of Titan's north polar region taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on 25 February. It has a surface area slightly smaller than the Caspian Sea, which is the largest lake on Earth.

At -180° Celsius, Titan's surface is far too cold for liquid water. Instead, liquid methane, perhaps with some liquid ethane mixed in, is thought to fill the moon's apparent lakes.

The new image was obtained using Cassini's Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), which is comprised of two cameras that can see in ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.

The instrument has previously spotted a small, kidney-shaped feature that is considered a likely lake (see Titan may boast methane lakes after all).

Cassini's radar has also revealed dozens of lake-like features (see Titan may be a land of lakes after all).

And new radar images obtained during Cassini's latest Titan flyby on 22 February have revealed yet more lakes, including one with a large island in its centre (see image below right). The island is 150 by 90 kilometres, about the size of the Big Island of Hawaii.



http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11...aspian-sea.html


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Soulthriller
post Feb 28 2007, 02:29 PM
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Impressive


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post Feb 28 2007, 03:03 PM
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damn!


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Mextli
post Mar 1 2007, 09:18 PM
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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been turning up new images of features that look like lakes on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. This latest image shows a large lake that appears to be surrounding an island.

This radar image was captured during Cassini’s most recent Titan flyby on February 22, 2007. The island is about 90 kilometers (62 miles) by 150 kilometers (93 miles) across, which is the same size as the Big Island of Hawaii.

Unlike the familar lakes here on Earth, this lake is likely filled with liquid hydrocarbons. You wouldn’t want to go swimming there.



http://www.universetoday.com/2007/03/01/la...-on-titan/?1396


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Soulthriller
post Mar 1 2007, 11:06 PM
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I'd buy that island


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Dreaming
post Mar 2 2007, 12:16 AM
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Fuck yeah, so far from everything.


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harmonix
post Mar 2 2007, 12:28 AM
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The ultimate get away...no wait, that was DMT never mind...


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Mextli
post Mar 14 2007, 06:53 PM
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Glaciers made of acetylene – on Earth, a gas used in welder's torches – may tower over the polar regions of Saturn's moon, Titan, according to a new analysis. The region near Titan's north pole also appears to harbour huge hydrocarbon seas, new radar observations reveal.

Jeffrey Kargel of the University of Arizona in Tucson, US, led a team that surveyed the zoo of organic chemicals known or suspected of being present on Titan. Then, the team analysed what form they might take in the ultra-cold, hydrocarbon-rich environment of the enigmatic moon.

At the -180ş Celsius temperatures on Titan, it is cold enough for acetylene, which is a gas on Earth, to freeze solid, the researchers say.

Because the poles are a little colder than the rest of the moon, the acetylene may have accumulated there, forming kilometre-thick glaciers. Vapour could rise like steam from the glaciers, perhaps accounting for the acetylene observed in Titan's atmosphere.

Other strange things may burble up from Titan's interior from time to time. These include volcanic eruptions of liquid polyethylene, which in its solid form is used to make plastic bags on Earth.
Blobs of plastic

"Masses of polyethylene might be exuded in the liquid state to the top of the core," says Kargel, who presented the results on Tuesday at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, US. "And if it accumulates, big blobs of plastic could come floating up."

Icy moon expert Jeff Moore of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, US, says these bizarre scenarios are possible. "Our understanding of Titan is so unconstrained that there is nothing [Kargel] said that is ruled out," Moore told New Scientist.

Ralph Lorenz of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, US, agrees that future observations are likely to reveal unexpected features on the moon.

"We do have to keep an open mind because we don't understand all the material properties," he told New Scientist. But as exciting as it would be to find something like an acetylene glacier, nothing like this has been seen so far, he adds.
Giant seas

There do appear to be plenty of liquid hydrocarbons on Titan, however. Recent observations have revealed the largest lake-like features ever seen on the moon (see Titan's largest lake rivals Earth's Caspian Sea). One of these is about as big as the Caspian Sea on Earth. Watch an animation showing lake features on Titan (large file, 28 MB).

Now, scientists studying recent radar observations by the Cassini spacecraft have turned up what appear to be even more large seas, with the largest measuring at least 100,000 square kilometres.

"We've long hypothesised about oceans on Titan and now with multiple instruments we have a first indication of seas that dwarf the lakes seen previously," says Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona.
Missing ethane

Oceans of liquid methane were once suggested to explain why Titan's atmosphere contains so much of the hydrocarbon, but Cassini and ground-based observatories failed to find the large bodies of liquid, instead discovering disconnected lakes and now apparent seas.

Recently, however, scientists have recalculated how much liquid methane would have to lie on the surface to account for the atmospheric observations. "Looking at what we've seen of Titan so far, there is easily that much," Lorenz says.

Still missing is a global ocean of ethane. The lakes may be a mixture of methane and ethane, but the breakdown of methane in the atmosphere over Titan's lifetime should have produced a global ocean of ethane by now.

This might be an indication that the rate of ethane production is much lower than believed, or that there is extra ethane hidden underground, Lorenz says.


Cassini radar observations have detected smooth, dark features thought to be lakes and seas (coloured blue) on Titan. The bodies of liquid appear to be tens of metres deep (Image: NASA/JPL)

Check out the video....
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/cassini/pia09183-half.mov

http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11...tans-poles.html


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Mextli
post Jun 5 2007, 12:49 AM
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Two and a half years after the historic landing of ESA's Huygens probe on Titan, a new set of results on Saturn's largest moon is ready to be presented. Titan, as seen through the eyes of the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, still holds exciting surprises, scientists say.
On 14 January 2005, after a seven-year voyage on board the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft, ESA's Huygens probe spent 2 hours and 28 minutes descending by parachute to land on Titan. It then sent transmissions from the surface for another seventy minutes before Cassini moved out of range.

Professor John Zarnecki of The Open University led the Surface Science Package (SSP) on Huygens "Huygens has provided us with a rich seam of data to mine -- and we shall be digging through it for some time to come. The Surface Science Package returned immediate information about Titan about the landing Huygens made but it is also a part of the longer term picture, piecing together the whole environment on Titan."

By driving their computer models of Titan to match the data returned from the probe, planetary scientists can now visualise Titan as a working world. "Even though we have only four hours of data, it is so rich that after two years of work we have yet to retrieve all the information it contains," says François Raulin, Huygens Interdisciplinary Scientist, at the Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement, Paris.

http://www.mrt.com.mk/en//index.php?option...=2952&Itemid=33


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Soulthriller
post Jun 5 2007, 09:01 AM
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Lucifer


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Mextli
post Jun 5 2007, 09:03 AM
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QUOTE (Ascended @ Jun 5 2007, 09:01 AM) *
Lucifer


lol why???


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harmonix
post Jun 5 2007, 12:19 PM
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LOL, I don't think he will say much more tongue.gif


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Mextli
post Jun 5 2007, 01:48 PM
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QUOTE (harmonix @ Jun 5 2007, 12:19 PM) *
LOL, I don't think he will say much more tongue.gif


LOL....yeah once I found out about it................... laugh.gif

This post has been edited by Mextli: Jun 5 2007, 02:12 PM


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Soulthriller
post Oct 14 2007, 06:34 AM
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Titan Forecast: Cold, Drizzly Mornings



Methane drizzles down every morning on Titan, according to a new study of Saturn's largest moon.

The rain is probably widespread across Titan and may even close the loop in a methane cycle that closely resembles the water cycle on Earth, the researchers suggest.

Scientists involved with the Huygens probe, which landed on Titan's surface in late 2004, have long suspected such an atmospheric cycle.

"The most important part of these results is that there is a way to monitor methane condensation from ground-based telescopes," said Mate Adamkovics of the University of California at Berkeley, who led the new research.

"Monitoring how often and to what extent the drizzle occurs might be an indication of seasonal changes on Titan that is more sensitive than watching other types of clouds come and go."

The results will be published in this week's issue of the journal Science.

Exotic Moon

Titan is a mysterious and alluring ball of rock and ice surrounded by a thick, orange, methane-heavy atmosphere.

Some scientists believe that the moon is a likely place to harbor alien life. One reason is that several studies have suggested that Titan has long-lasting lakes most likely made of methane. (Related: "Alien Life May Be 'Weirder' Than Scientists Think, Report Says" [July 6, 2007].)

On Earth, methane is produced in gas form through biological reactions such as digestion. It can exist as a liquid only under very high pressures.

But at about minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (about minus 180 degrees Celsius), the surface of Titan is so frigid that methane doesn't need pressure to remain in liquid form.

Using ground-based telescopes and computer models, Adamkovics and his colleagues found a solid methane cloud 15 to 21 miles (25 to 35 kilometers) from Titan's surface.

It's the first time researchers have seen differences between day and nighttime weather on Titan, Adamkovics pointed out.

"They were unexpected, because day-to-night temperature changes are expected to be small," he said.

Still Mysterious

Martin Tomasko, an astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson who designed Huygens' camera system, has long suspected methane smog and condensation occurred on Titan.

He has proposed that methane rains from Titan's sky as a thick, tarry gunk. The chemical then travels through channels until it reaches reservoirs visible as dark patches on the moon's surface.

The exact nature of the dark patches remains in dispute, however.

If methane rain is indeed widespread, it could be the main method that atmospheric methane returns to the surface, the study authors write.

But Adamkovics said there's still a long way to go to understand the process.

"Many predictions are being made, but we are far from conclusions," he said, "and I would wager that more surprises are going to be discovered before we have a textbook description of Titan's atmospheric cycling."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/20...tan-rain_2.html


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post Feb 15 2008, 11:34 PM
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Titan's surface organics surpass oil reserves on Earth

Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new Cassini data. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

"Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material—it’s a giant factory of organic chemicals," said Lorenz. “This vast carbon inventory is an important window into the geology and climate history of Titan.”

At a balmy minus 179ş C , Titan is a far cry from Earth. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane are present on the moon's surface, and tholins probably make up its dunes. The term ‘tholins’ was coined by Carl Sagan in 1979 to describe the complex organic molecules at the heart of prebiotic chemistry.

Cassini has mapped about 20% of Titan's surface with radar. Several hundred lakes and seas have been observed, with each of several dozen estimated to contain more hydrocarbon liquid than Earth's oil and gas reserves. The dark dunes that run along the equator contain a volume of organics several hundred times larger than Earth's coal reserves.

Proven reserves of natural gas on Earth total 130 thousand million tons, enough to provide 300 times the amount of energy the entire United States uses annually for residential heating, cooling and lighting. Dozens of Titan's lakes individually have the equivalent of at least this much energy in the form of methane and ethane.

"This global estimate is based mostly on views of the lakes in the northern polar regions. We have assumed the south might be similar, but we really don’t yet know how much liquid is there," said Lorenz. Cassini's radar has observed the south polar region only once, and only two small lakes were visible. Future observations of that area are planned during Cassini’s proposed extended mission.

Scientists estimated Titan's lake depth by making some general assumptions based on lakes on Earth. They took the average area and depth of lakes on Earth, taking into account the nearby surroundings, like mountains. On Earth, the lake depth is often 10 times less than the height of nearby terrain.

"We also know that some lakes are more than 10 m or so deep because they appear literally pitch-black to the radar. If they were shallow we'd see the bottom, and we don't," said Lorenz.

The question of how much liquid is on the surface is an important one because methane is a strong greenhouse gas on Titan as well as on Earth, but there is much more of it on Titan. If all the observed liquid on Titan is methane, it would only last a few million years, because as methane escapes into Titan's atmosphere, it breaks down and escapes into space. If the methane were to run out, Titan could become much colder. Scientists believe that methane might be supplied to the atmosphere by venting from the interior in cryovolcanic eruptions. If so, the amount of methane, and the temperature on Titan, may have fluctuated dramatically in Titan’s past.

“We are carbon-based life, and understanding how far along the chain of complexity towards life that chemistry can go in an environment like Titan will be important in understanding the origins of life throughout the universe,” added Lorenz.

Cassini's next radar flyby of Titan is on 22 February 2008, when the radar instrument will observe the landing site of ESA’s Huygens probe.

http://www.physorg.com/news122133934.html


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post Aug 19 2009, 03:02 PM
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Tropical storm spotted on Saturn's moon Titan

A tropical storm was not what astronomers expected to see when they pointed their telescopes toward the equator of Saturn's moon Titan last summer.

But that's exactly what they found on this beguiling moon, home to a weather system both eerily familiar and perplexingly strange. The discovery was announced today.

In many ways Titan's climate resembles that of Earth, but instead of a water cycle, Titan has a methane cycle. Clouds, rain and lakes all exist on Titan, but they are all made of methane. In the moon's frigid climate, any water is frozen into rock-hard ice.

Clouds of vaporized methane are not uncommon on Titan, though they have never before been observed in Titan's tropics. But in April 2008, astronomers using the Gemini North telescope and NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii spotted a severe storm covering almost 2 million square miles (3 million square km) over the equator.

"The models predicted that the equatorial region should be very dry and should not support cloud formation," said astronomer Henry Roe of Lowell Observatory in Arizona. "But this episode created clouds over both the equator and the south pole. We don't know what set off that sequence, but something gave a pretty good kick to the atmosphere."

Scientists suspect the storm's trigger may have been some kind of geologic activity on the moon's surface, such as a geyser or new mountain range forming. Atmospheric effects may also have set off the storm.

Whatever the cause, once the clouds were established they seem to have spread throughout Titan's atmosphere in waves.

The situation is a new wrinkle in the study of this complex moon.

"It's an amazing place because it is deeply familiar to us, being form Earth, in terms of the processes - clouds forming, rainfall, carved out channels on the surface, huge fields of what look like sand dunes," Roe told SPACE.com. "But the materials that are involved are quite alien."

Scientists hope to learn more as Saturn's 30-year-long orbit plays out a full rotation of seasons on the moon. NASA's Cassini spacecraft is currently in orbit around Saturn, but it only flies by Titan once every six weeks or so. In the meantime, ground-based telescopes can keep a near-steady eye on the moon.

"We really need to keep observing Titan in detail for many more years in order to get a true understanding of how its seasons change," Roe said.

The researchers, led by Emily Schaller of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii (now at the University of Arizona), detail the new finding in the August 13 issue of the journal Nature.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32389851/ns/te..._science-space/


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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 21st December 2014 - 07:41 AM