Seeing Sextuple! These six infrared images of Saturn's moon Titan, as compared with the center image of Titan as it appears in natural light, represent some of the clearest, most seamless-looking global views of the icy moon's surface produced so far. The views were created using 13 years of data acquired by an instrument on board our Cassini spacecraft. The images are the result of a focused effort to smoothly combine data from different observations made under various lighting and viewing conditions.
Observing the surface of Titan is difficult because of the haze surrounding it and small particles called aerosols in the upper atmosphere that scatter visible light. While this is the case, Titan’s surface can be more readily observed in a few infrared "windows" - infrared wavelengths where scattering and absorption of light is much weaker. This is where our instrument excelled, parting the haze to obtain these clear images of Titan’s surface.
This unique set of images shows Titan’s complex surface, sporting myriad geologic features and compositional units. Our technology has paved the way for future infrared instruments that could observe Titan at much higher resolutions, revealing features that were not detectable by any of Cassini’s instruments.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stéphane Le Mouélic, University of Nantes, Virginia Pasek, University of Arizona
#nasa #space #saturn #solarsystem #infrared #spacecraft #titan #science