Astronomy Picture of the Day
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2015 February 2
Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight
Why would the surface of Titan light up with a blinding flash?
The reason: a
sunglint from liquid seas.
Titan has numerous smooth
lakes of methane that, when the angle is right,
reflect sunlight as if they were mirrors.
Pictured here in false-colour, the
robotic Cassini spacecraft
orbiting Saturn imaged the
cloud-covered Titan last summer in different bands of cloud-piercing
specular reflection was so bright it saturated one of Cassini's infrared cameras.
Although the sunglint was annoying -- it was also useful.
The reflecting regions confirm that
northern Titan houses a wide and complex array of seas with a geometry that
indicates periods of significant evaporation.
During its numerous passes of our Solar System's most mysterious moon,
Cassini has revealed Titan to be a world with
active weather -- including times when it rains a liquefied version of
Tomorrow's picture: emerging comet jets
| About APOD
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman
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& Michigan Tech. U.