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Determining Titan surface topography from Cassini SAR data

Stiles, Bryan W. and Hensley, Scott and Gim, Yonggyu and Bates, David M. and Kirk, Randolph L. and Hayes, Alex and Radebaugh, Jani and Lorenz, Ralph D. and Mitchell, Karl L. and Callahan, Philip S. and Zebker, Howard and Johnson, William T. K. and Wall, Stephen D. and Lunine, Jonathan I. and Wood, Charles A. and Janssen, Michael and Pelletier, Frederic and West, Richard D. and Veeramacheneni, Chandini (2009) Determining Titan surface topography from Cassini SAR data. Icarus, 202 (2). pp. 584-598. ISSN 0019-1035.

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A technique, referred to as SARTopo, has been developed for obtaining surface height estimates with 10 km horizontal resolution and 75 m vertical resolution of the surface of Titan along each Cassini Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) swath. We describe the technique and present maps of the co-located data sets. A global map and regional maps of Xanadu and the northern hemisphere hydrocarbon lakes district are included in the results. A strength of the technique is that it provides topographic information co-located with SAR imagery. Having a topographic context vastly improves the interpretability of the SAR imagery and is essential for understanding Titan. SARTopo is capable of estimating surface heights for most of the SAR-imaged surface of Titan. Currently nearly 30% of the surface is within 100 km of a SARTopo height profile. Other competing techniques provide orders of magnitude less coverage. We validate the SARTopo technique through comparison with known geomorphological features such as mountain ranges and craters, and by comparison with co-located nadir altimetry, including a 3000 km strip that had been observed by SAR a month earlier. In this area, the SARTopo and nadir altimetry data sets are co-located tightly (within 5–10 km for one 500 km section), have similar resolution, and as expected agree closely in surface height. Furthermore the region contains prominent high spatial resolution topography, so it provides an excellent test of the resolution and precision of both techniques.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Lorenz, Ralph D.0000-0001-8528-4644
Lunine, Jonathan I.0000-0003-2279-4131
Janssen, Michael0000-0001-5476-731X
Additional Information:© 2009 Elsevier. Received 24 November 2008; revised 13 March 2009; accepted 24 March 2009. Available online 5 April 2009. The research described here was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Titan; Radar observations
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090808-142502918
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Official Citation:Bryan W. Stiles, Scott Hensley, Yonggyu Gim, David M. Bates, Randolph L. Kirk, Alex Hayes, Jani Radebaugh, Ralph D. Lorenz, Karl L. Mitchell, Philip S. Callahan, Howard Zebker, William T.K. Johnson, Stephen D. Wall, Jonathan I. Lunine, Charles A. Wood, Michael Janssen, Frederic Pelletier, Richard D. West, Chandini Veeramacheneni and the Cassini RADAR Team, Determining Titan surface topography from Cassini SAR data, Icarus, Volume 202, Issue 2, August 2009, Pages 584-598, ISSN 0019-1035, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.03.032. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14895
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:02 Sep 2009 23:34
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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