NOV 18, 2016 6:34 AM PST

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Spies Methane Clouds on Titan

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft orbits Saturn in our Solar System, keeping track of not only what happens on Saturn, but also on the moons orbiting the planet. One of the most interesting and the largest of all Saturn’s moons, is Titan.
 
Cassini spied methane clouds moving across Titan’s Northern atmosphere on October 29th and 30th with its onboard narrow angle camera in infrared light to make the clouds more visible. NASA notes that moving sequences like these help astronomers distinguish between camera noise and the real thing.
 


In the movie sequence that was recorded, which lasts 11 Earth hours, the methane clouds appear to develop and slowly fade away while most are moving anywhere from 14-22 miles per hour.
 
The time lapse video was recorded as a part of an initiative to focus Cassini’s efforts on learning about cloud development on Titan. Cassini is expected to continue observing Titan’s cloud development until the Summer solstice of 2017.
 
Because cloud dynamics on Titan are very much different from those on Earth, we wanted to learn as much as we possibly could. Some of the clouds that exist on Titan theoretically shouldn’t even exist with what we know about the moon, so observing how they develop and fade away is a great place to start.
 
NASA doesn’t have a lot of time left to observe the Saturnian system; in September of 2017, the spacecraft will go on a suicide mission and plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.
 
Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 04, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Part of a Chinese Rocket is Expected to Fall to Earth Soon
MAY 04, 2021
Part of a Chinese Rocket is Expected to Fall to Earth Soon
In the next few days, part of a rocket that put China's new space station into orbit will fall back to Earth in an uncon ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
JUL 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
JUL 08, 2021
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has giant erupting plumes of water that, scientists say, can not be explained by known g ...
JUL 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
On Mars, the Perseverance Rover is Set to Acquire Its First Sample
JUL 22, 2021
On Mars, the Perseverance Rover is Set to Acquire Its First Sample
One of the special features of NASA's Perseverance Rover is its ability to perform some scientific experiments. One of i ...
AUG 26, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
AUG 26, 2021
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
Sitting at 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way. Since it&rsquo ...
NOV 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Deep Learning Tool Identifies 301 New Exoplanets
NOV 24, 2021
Deep Learning Tool Identifies 301 New Exoplanets
Scientists have announced the discovery of a huge number of new planets. The 301 newly identified exoplanets will join 4 ...
Loading Comments...