Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-Image of the Day: Updated Map of Titan

Good old Cassini is still studying Saturn's moon Titan, and NASA has released an updated map of the fascinating world. Dig those crazy place-names! The colored lines around dark areas near the poles show the shorelines of liquid-hydrocarbon lakes, a theory confirmed by how those lakes changed by rainfall - of hydrocarbons, of course!

Click the image to see the story.

The cylindrical image is a typical projected map; at bottom left is the north pole from latitude 55° to 90°, and bottom right is the south pole from latitude -55° to -90°. Because the atmosphere is so rough in the high northern latitudes, you can really only see detail in the north-pole map.

Cassini used radar, visual, and infrared equipment to produce this compilation from April 2004 through August 2008, and their resolutions vary from a few meters to a few tens of kilometers per pixel. Cassini has its next close encounter with Titan in less than 4 days, so new photos are on the way!

Okay, very cool stuff, but how about a pretty photo from Cassini? Done! This is Saturn's stormy north pole.

Click the image to see the story.

Cassini scientists are looking forward to sunrise on the north pole next year so that they can better study it in visible light. Right now, Saturn's rings are nearly edge-on to the Sun (and us).

Tags: astronomy

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