Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 3, 2015

Fensal and Aztlan
Fensal and Aztlan

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

Saturn's "frigid" (---> please, DO NOT forget that this is an absolutely relative term...) moon Titan, has some characteristics that are oddly (...why?!?...) similar to the ones of our Home Planet Earth, but still slightly alien (here is - sigh!.... - another NASA's more than obvious consideraton...). Titan, as we well know now, has Clouds, Rain, Seas and Lakes (MOSTLY, cetrainly NOT entirely, made of Methane and Ethane), a solid Surface (even in this case: MOSTLY made of Water Ice), and vast Dunefields (filled with Hydrocarbon-rich Sands). The dark, "H-shaped" area seen here contains two of the Dunefields rich Regions of TitanFensal (to the North) and Aztlan (to the South).


The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's oboard cameras, as you know, have frequently monitored the Surface of Titan to look for changes (---> clear variations) in/of its Features over the course of the Mission, and that is why any changes that could have been noticed might help Planetary Scientists to better understand the many (and different) phenomena occurring on this strange Alien World (such as things like Winds' Directions and Dunes' Formation). But, so far, we still know VERY little about it.


This (wonderful!) view looks toward the Leading Side of Titan; North is up. The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Narrow-Angle Camera on July 25, 2015, using a Spectral Filter sensitive to Wavelengths of Near-InfraRed Light, centered at 938 nanometers. The picture was obtained at a distance of approximately 450.000 miles (such as roughly 724.203 Km) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-NASA - Cassini Spacecraft - or PhaseAngle of 32°. The image scale is about 3 miles (such as approx. 4,82802 Km) per pixel.


This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18341) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Saturnian moon "Titan"), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Gases) present in the Atmosphere of Titan, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.


Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of Titan - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.



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