Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 23, 2012

At Titan's Poles...
At Titan's Poles...

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

Titan's South Polar Vortex seems to "float" above the moon's South Pole in this NASA - Cassini Spacecraft view. The Vortex, which is a mass of gases swirling around the South Pole, high in the moon's Atmosphere, can be easily seen in the lower right of this view. On the other hand, Titan's Northern "Hood" is also well visible, since it covers almost all the Northern Regions of this always mysterious and fascinating Saturnian moon. This view looks toward the Leading Hemisphere of Titan (which is approx. 3200 miles, or about 5150 kilometers across). North on Titan is up and rotated 25° to the left.


The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on July 6, 2012, using a Spectral Filter sensitive to wavelengths of Near-InfraRed light, centered at 889 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1,7 Million Miles (such as about 2,8 Million Kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 86°. Scale in the original image was about 11 miles (such as approx. 17 Km) per pixel. Afterwards, the image has been contrast enhanced and magnified, so to improve the visibility of the most interesting Features existing in the Titanian Atmosphere.


This picture (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14626) has been additionally processed and then 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 - 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 others, the existence of different Elements present in the Atmosphere of Titan, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.



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