STATES CHRONICLE – Astronomers have revealed that the moon of Saturn, Titan is covered by some strange clouds. Under the upper atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan, there formed some thin clouds. On June 7 and July 25, Cassini spacecraft sent by NASA has analyzed Titan, collecting data after flying over its atmosphere. The rover was able to capture several pictures of the high northern latitude of the moon by using Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) and the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS).
Due to the help of VIMS, the pictures taken were clear enough to make visible the elusive clouds from the surface of the moon by using an infrared view. The VIMS captures reveal the extensive cloud covering the moon during both flybys which occurred last summer. NASA cannot yet explain why the two different cameras at the board of Cassini spaceship captured different images, these clouds being visible in just some of the photos.
This phenomenon is indeed surprising considering the fact that these two images were captured close together in time. ISS is made up of a narrow-angle and a wide angle digital camera. They are both sensitive to wavelengths of light, but also to ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. One of the images was taken by ISS from about 398,000 miles away from the planet, displaying no clouds.
Nevertheless, the other image was captured by VIMS from approximately 28,000 miles, situated at a longer infrared wavelength, showing a view of the strange clouds which cover the northern skies of the Saturn’s moon. Officials from NASA stated that even if these pictures were captured at distinct wavelengths, scientists would expect at least a hint of these bright clouds to appear in both images.
Since then, they have been struggling to understand what lies at the base of this difference between the different photos taken by distinct cameras. According to atmospheric models, researchers have assumed that clouds will begin to be more common at high mother latitudes in the summertime on Titan.
Since 2004, this spacecraft has registered many modifications which occurred in weather patterns due to seasons changing on Saturn’s moon. NASA scientists believe that these images gathered by Cassini will help them track the formation of these strange clouds in the north, just where the seas and lakes are located.
Image source: wikipedia