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Imaging of Titan from the Cassini spacecraft

Porco, Carolyn C. and Dyudina, Ulyana and Ingersoll, Andrew P. (2005) Imaging of Titan from the Cassini spacecraft. Nature, 434 (7030). pp. 159-168. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature03436.

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Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is the only satellite in the Solar System with a substantial atmosphere. The atmosphere is poorly understood and obscures the surface, leading to intense speculation about Titan's nature. Here we present observations of Titan from the imaging science experiment onboard the Cassini spacecraft that address some of these issues. The images reveal intricate surface albedo features that suggest aeolian, tectonic and fluvial processes; they also show a few circular features that could be impact structures. These observations imply that substantial surface modification has occurred over Titan's history. We have not directly detected liquids on the surface to date. Convective clouds are found to be common near the south pole, and the motion of mid-latitude clouds consistently indicates eastward winds, from which we infer that the troposphere is rotating faster than the surface. A detached haze at an altitude of 500 km is 150–200 km higher than that observed by Voyager, and more tenuous haze layers are also resolved.

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Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:© 2005 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 11 January; accepted 7 February 2005. We acknowledge the many members of the imaging team who have assisted in the design of imaging sequences and camera commands and in other vital operational and image processing tasks, in particular N. Martin, E. Birath, J. Riley, B. Knowles, C. Clark, M. Belanger and D. Wilson. This work has been funded by NASA/JPL, the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Universite Paris VII Denis Diderot, CEA, AIM, France.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)UNSPECIFIED
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7030
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130125-142705202
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36603
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:25 Jan 2013 23:58
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:23

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