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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Titan's "Hot Cross Bun" compared to Kunapipi Mons, Venus

Filed under Cassini, pretty pictures, Titan, Venus, Saturn's moons, explaining science, radar imaging

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Titan's Radar images of northern Titan have revealed a feature shaped like a hot cross bun (left) that bears a striking resemblance to a similar feature on Venus (right). The image is from a Titan flyby on May 22, 2012.

NASA / JPL

The "bun" is located at about 38.5 degrees north latitude and 203 degrees west longitude. This image is taken from a longer radar swath, which is about 5,200 kilometers long and about 600 kilometers at its widest.

The circular feature shown, which looks like a giant hot cross bun, is about 70 kilometers in diameter with near-perpendicular markings about 60 kilometers wide, meeting at its center. The illumination for this synthetic aperture radar image is from the right. Similar features are seen on other planets. In a synthetic aperture radar image of Venus by NASA's Magellan spacecraft, this radar-bright circular-shaped region of 30 kilometers across lies at the summit of a large volcano called Kunapipi Mons (at about 33.3 degrees south latitude and 85.5 degrees west longitude on Venus). This comparison leads to the interpretation that the Titan crosses are also fractures caused by uplift from below. Steam often causes the top of bread to lift and stretch, but on Titan some other force, such as rising cryomagma, may have uplifted the surface, leading to the crossed cracks.

Original image data dated on or about May 22, 2012

 

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