Join Donate

Emily LakdawallaJune 15, 2012

Pretty picture: Halo on a halo?

Check out this curious picture taken recently by Cassini:

Crescent Titan with a cloud cap?

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Emily Lakdawalla

Crescent Titan with a cloud cap?
Cassini took this photo of Titan on 6 June 2012, on its way into the "T83" flyby. Cassini sees Titan at very high phase, and the Sun lights up its atmosphere from behind.

This image is cool to begin with because it's taken at such a high phase that we can see sunlight scattering through Titan's atmosphere completely around its globe. You're seeing every sunrise and sunset happening all over Titan, all at once. What makes it curious is the little lenticular cap at the bottom of the image, at Titan's southern winter pole. The cap is also visible in images of Titan taken as Cassini was departing the flyby, like this one. If something like this has been visible in Cassini's images of Titan before, I don't recall seeing it. (Please point it out in the comments if it's been seen before.) I don't have any idea what it is. Hopefully someone will tell me in a talk at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in the fall.

Cassini has been at Saturn for very nearly eight years, and has flown past Titan a hundred times, and there are still new things to see!

Read more: pretty pictures, Cassini, Titan, data art (was amateur image processing), Saturn's moons

You are here:
Emily Lakdawalla 2017 headshot square serene
Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

Comments & Sharing
Bill Nye and people
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

The Planetary Fund

Help advance robotic and human space exploration, defend our planet, and search for life.


"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

Sign Up for Email Updates