A Caltech Library Service

Discovery of Fog at the South Pole of Titan

Brown, M. E. and Smith, A. L. and Chen, C. and Ádámkovics, M. (2009) Discovery of Fog at the South Pole of Titan. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 706 (1). L110-L113. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/706/1/L110.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


While Saturn's moon Titan appears to support an active methane hydrological cycle, no direct evidence for surface-atmosphere exchange has yet appeared. The indirect evidence, while compelling, could be misleading. It is possible, for example, that the identified lake features could be filled with ethane, an involatile long-term residue of atmospheric photolysis; the apparent stream and channel features could be ancient remnants of a previous climate; and the tropospheric methane clouds, while frequent, could cause no rain to reach the surface. We report here the detection of fog at the south pole of Titan during late summer using observations from the VIMS instrument on board the Cassini spacecraft. While terrestrial fog can form from a variety of causes, most of these processes are inoperable on Titan. Fog on Titan can only be caused by evaporation of nearly pure liquid methane; the detection of fog provides the first direct link between surface and atmospheric methane. Based on the detections presented here, liquid methane appears widespread at the south pole of Titan in late southern summer, and the hydrological cycle on Titan is currently active.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Brown, M. E.0000-0002-8255-0545
Additional Information:© 2009 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 August 27; accepted 2009 October 16; published 2009 November 2. This research has been supported by a grant from the NSF Planetary Astronomy program.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, UNSPECIFIED, UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:infrared: solar system; planets and satellites: individual (Titan)
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091130-080407164
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Discovery of Fog at the South Pole of Titan M. E. Brown, A. L. Smith, C. Chen, and M. Ádámkovics 2009 ApJ 706 L110-L113 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/706/1/L110
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16821
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Dec 2009 22:56
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page