Skip to comments.Astronomers Discover Fog At Titan's South Pole
Posted on 12/21/2009 3:08:04 PM PST by NormsRevenge
Aside from Earth, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks to be the only place in the solar system with copious quantities of liquid (largely, liquid methane and ethane) sitting on its surface. But that's not the only similarity our home and Titan share. A team of planetary astronomers recently announced that the two share yet another feature, which is inextricably linked with that surface liquid: common fog.
The team discussed their findings in a recent paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters as well as in a presentation at the American Geophysical Union's 2009 Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
Astronomers say the presence of fog provides the first direct evidence for the exchange of material between the surface and the atmosphere, and thus of an active hydrological cycle, which previously had only been known to exist on Earth.
The discovery was made using data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) onboard the Cassini spacecraft, which has been observing Saturn's system for the past five years. The VIMS instrument provides "hyperspectral" imaging, covering a large swath of the visible and infrared spectrum.
Researchers investigated all Cassini data collected over the moon's south pole from October 2006 through March 2007, and filtered the data to separate out features occurring at different depths in the atmosphere, ranging from 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) to .25 kilometers (820 feet) above the surface. Using other filters, they homed in on "bright" features caused by the scattering of light off small particlessuch as the methane droplets present in clouds.
In this way, they isolated clouds located about 750 meters (less than a half-mile) above the ground. These clouds did not extend into the higher altitudesinto the moon's troposphere, where regular clouds form. In other words, says Brown, they had found fog.
(Excerpt) Read more at scientificblogging.com ...
Anyone have a match?
Got a match? Great balls of fire.
According to the scads of sources I’ve checked, there is no O2 on Titan, clouds or otherwise. There are traces of water ice but the temp is so low that that O2 is locked up. All here in the interests of accuracy.
Great, where are we going to find an Titan IFR current astronaut to land there?
Send Harry Reid. He has so much hot air, the fog will dissipate.
OTOH, if they came to visit, shooting them through their suits with tracers could prove interesting.
A blowtorch then? Great balls of fire.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.