Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 31, 2012


Credits: NASA - Voyager 2 Project; Credits fo the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

Once again, our daily APOD takes us to the boudaries of the Solar System. This time we are in the Space of Uranus, onboard the NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft, which obtained this full-disk view of Uranus' icy moon Titania in the early morning hours of Jan. 24, 1986, from a distance of about 500.000 Km (such as approx. 300.000 miles). Many Circular Depressions - probably a combination of Pits and Impact Craters - are visible in this clear-filter image returned by the Voyager 2 narrow-angle camera (remarkable, in our opinion, is the very large Impact Crater located near the South Pole of Titania). 
Other bright spots, having a dubious nature though, can also be distinguished by the presence, near and around them, of Radiating Rays. These Surface Features could probably be a few so-called "Halo Craters", which mark relatively more recent impacts. Even more interesting, there are Linear Troughs (to the right of Titania) that are probably Fault Canyons (---> Tectonic Fractures). The Troughs, as you can see, break the Crust of the moon in two directions, thus indicating the occurrence of some Tectonic Extension of Titania's Crust. These Surface Features also indicate that this icy satellite has a dynamic and, likely, still active interior.

Titania is the largest and most massive Uranian moon, and the eighth most massive moon in the whole Solar System. Its density of 1,71 g/cm³, which is much higher, for instance, than the typical average density of the Saturnian Natural Satellites, indicates that it consists of roughly equal proportions of Water Ice and Dense Non-Ice Components (the latter being, probably, Rock and Carbonaceous Material, including Heavy Organic Compounds). InfraRed Spectroscopic Observations carried out during the years 2001 – 2005 revealed the presence of Crystalline Water Ice on the Surface of the moon. Titania is about 1600 Km (approx. 1000 miles) in diameter; the resolution of this image is about 9 Km (approx. 6 miles) per pixel.

This frame has been additionally processed and then re-colorized, according to an informed speculation carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Voyager 2 Probe and then looked outside, towards the Uranian moon Titania), 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 others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Titania, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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