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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Atmospheric changes on Titan

Filed under pretty pictures, Cassini, Titan, amateur image processing, explaining science, global views, Saturn's moons, weather and climate, animation

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Atmospheric changes on Titan Two global views of Titan taken 20 months apart show how Titan's atmosphere is changing in response to the changing seasons at Saturn. Saturn's equinox was August 11, 2009, and spring is coming to the northern hemisphere. The polar hood that covered Titan's north pole has dissipated, while the high-altitude haze is spread more evenly around the globe than it used to be.

NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic

Gordan wrote about this comparison on November 4, 2012:

The high altitude haze has become much more pronounced at the limb recently. While playing around with some mutual event datasets, I noticed two separate Titan-Dione mutuals were taken at almost exactly the same phase angle, but were separated by 20 months time. Whereas in early 2010 the high altitude haze was very visible only around the north pole, in late 2011 it was prominent across the limb. The Cassini team already reported drastic changes in haze layer altitudes. This actually makes it difficult to center two temporally distant snapshots on Titan "proper", but I registered it as best as I could. Phase angles were 61.6 deg and 61.0 in April 2010 and December 2011, respectively. Both were rescaled to 2x the pixel scale of the 2011 snapshot and rotated so north is roughly up.

Here are the original images used for the flicker comparison:

Global color view of Titan

NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic

Global color view of Titan
Cassini took the images for this global color view of Titan on April 10, 2010.
Global color view of Titan

NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic

Global color view of Titan
Cassini captured the images for this global view of Titan on December 7, 2011. The image was made from archival (PDS) data.

Copyright holder: Gordan Ugarkovic

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder. Original image data dated on or about December 7, 2011

 

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