Geographic Control of Titan's Mid-Latitude Clouds
Observations of Titan's mid-latitude clouds from the W. M. Keck and Gemini Observatories show that they cluster near 350°W longitude, 40°S latitude. These clouds cannot be explained by a seasonal shift in global circulation and thus presumably reflect a mechanism on Titan such as geysering or cryovolcanism in this region. The rate of volatile release necessary to trigger cloud formation could easily supply enough methane to balance the loss to photolysis in the upper atmosphere.
Additional Information© 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 29 June 2005; accepted for publication 30 August 2005. H.G.R. is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship (NSF AST-0401559). E.L.S. is supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Additional support was provided by an NSF grant to M.E.B. (NSF AST-0307929). The W. M. Keck Observatory is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA, and made possible by financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Gemini Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the NSF, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (UK), the National Research Council (Canada), Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT) (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (Brazil), and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) (Argentina).
Supplemental Material - Roe.SOM.pdf