Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 2, 2013

Senkyo and the South Polar Vortex
Senkyo and the South Polar Vortex

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

The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft peers through the Haze of Titan's Equatorial Region down to its Surface, and, at the same time, captures the Vortex of Clouds hovering over its South Pole, visible just to the right of the Terminator Line on the moon's Dark Side. The Dark Region near Titan's Equator is known as "Senkyo". The lit Terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing Hemisphere of Titan; North is up and rotated 11° to the left. The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on September 20, 2012, using a spectral filter sensitive to Wavelengths of Near-InfraRed Light centered at 938 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1,8 Million Miles (such as about 2,9 Million KiloMeters) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 84°. Image scale is roughly 11 miles (such as approx. 17,7 Km) per pixel.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14645) has been additionally processed and then colorized, according to an educated guess 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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