Recently, the space probe Cassini, who’s been engaged in numerous research studies concerning the composition of Saturn, has taken some amazing photos of Saturn’ largest moon, Titan. Depicted in the photos, are what appears to be winter storms on Titan.
Cassini, through the use of his high-tech imaging sensors, was able to capture data on some unusual cloud formations hovering over the giant moon. As the researchers point out, the clouds seems to be made out of ice. Also, the cloud seems to contain other compounds such as hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen.
Scientists are eager to get additional data from the flying droid, because the recent pictures have provided them a great opportunity to study the climate changes of Titan. And, it seems that wintery season is as spectacular as it is rare. The team of scientists explain that the moon of Saturn undergoes a weather change every 7 and a half years.
The process of cloud formation on Titan is very different than the one on Earth. Researchers explain that the process occurs due to a sudden migration of gases. It seems that the icy cloud comprised of gases like hydrocarbons and nitrates, migrates from the northern hemisphere of the moon, which has a warmer temperature, to the south, which registers low temperatures. Then, the cloud like formation, literally falls through the moon’s atmosphere. The process by which warm air sinks through the atmosphere is called subsidence.
Cassini has some additional gadgets installed in order to study phenomena related to weather. By using the composite infrared spectrometer, the probe is, literally, capable of seeing the unseen. In more technical terms, by using the spectrometer, Cassini is able to analyze different sets of thermal radiation. Usually, higher wavelengths of thermal radiation are invisible to the human eye. Cassini’s creators, are eager to begin their researcher concerning the moon’s transitions from late autumn towards winter.
Images taken by Cassini depicts how the actual process of cloud formation. The gases formed in the atmosphere have the capacity of sinking. As they descend closer towards the moon’s surface and encounter colder temperature, the gasses undergo condensation, turning into clouds.
The team of scientists will continue to keep close tabs on Titan and to gather more data about season changes in space. Cassini will continue to monitor both Saturn and the giant moon until his space mission ends, somewhere in 2017.
The data uncovered by the probe could help us understand more about planetary weather systems.