NASA released new Cassini images of Titan dune fields, imaged from a 450,000-mile distance from Saturn’s moon.
After Enceladus-related images were released by the U.S. space agency last week, it’s Titan’s time to steal the spotlight. Titan, the largest of the 62 Sal moons of the turn moons is oddly similar to our own home planet. Among the only two ellipsoidal moons of the gas giant, Titan is also in hydrostatic equilibrium.
This means that it in addition to Rhea, another Saturnian moon, Titan hosts blocks of water in form of lakes or water ice. Clouds form in the dense atmosphere of the satellite and rain falls on the surface of the celestial body.
Another captivating feature of Titan are its dune fields. NASA released new Cassini images of Titan dune fields, imaging the hydrocarbon sands in closer detail. The two regions were dune fields are predominantly visible are Aztlan, towards the south of Titan’s surface. On the northern side, Fensal completes the dune fields landscape.
Both regions are easily visible in the H-shaped darker area present in the Cassini images.
The latest series of images have been captured as part of a continuous monitoring process. Searching for any changes in Titan surface features, the Cassini team is looking to understand whether winds or dune formation on Titan suffer any modification.
With a hazy and dense atmosphere, imaging the Fensal and Aztlan dune fields isn’t an easy job. Nonetheless, the vertically oriented hydrocarbon dunes are easily visible in the Cassini images.
The NASA/ESA Cassini project started in 2006. Eversince, Cassini is monitoring Saturn as well as the planet’s satellites for any surface changes. As one of the largest moons orbiting Saturn, Titan is of great interest for researchers, particularly for being one of the two moons in hydrostatic equilibrium state.
Photo Credits: jpl.nasa.gov